View Full Version : Byzantium

11-13-2006, 20:40
Byzantium needs to be unlocked before you can play as them. To do this you can either complete a campaign (on any difficutly, long or short setting) with one of the five starting factions, or you can edit the preferences file. To do this open your Sega/M2TW folder/data\world\maps\campaign\imperial_campaign, find the file called "descr_strat" and open it with wordpad. Now find the section which says
campaign imperial_campaign

Change it so it reads

campaign imperial_campaign

11-14-2006, 05:15
Faction Information
Byzantium begins play with 5 provinces. Constantinople is a large city, and the capitol. Thessalonica and Nicaea are towns. Corinth is a castle and Nicosia on Cyprus is a wooden castle.

Potential Problems
While mostly surrounded by rebel provinces, Hungary lies north of you, the Venetians lie to the west, and the Turks are to the east. Byzantium is of the Orthodox Christian faith, which means 1) you aren't subject to the Pope and 2) it's quite possible for both crusades and jihads to be called against you. Unless you remain at peace with all catholic factions, your relations with the Papal States will likely nose dive.

11-15-2006, 09:51
I think that if you want to play as byzantines you must be ready to take chanses.What i mean is that you must be ready for war on 2 fronts and if necessary to retreat and concede 1-2 provinces without sacrificing many of your valuable troops.You must advance to all directions and take out the rebel provinces.Go for Smirna,trebizond,rhodes AND i think most importantly go and invade akra from cyprus.Even jerusalem and adana might be easy targets before the egyptians come to the north.

Sir Robin
11-15-2006, 16:29
I have been a ByzFan since first running across that Time-Life book on them around two decades ago. Ever since they have been my favorite faction to play in any game that includes them.

Played them for three hours last night on Medium/Medium, my learning curve settings.:embarassed:

With the Turks on your eastern frontier and the Hungarians and Venetians not far from your western frontier you have to keep a strong defense in two directions against enemies that do not have any particular reason or even inclination to not attack you.

You should focus on having two mobile field armies to respond to any incursions and secure any rebel towns/castles nearby.

The easiest for you to reach quickly are Sofia (nw of Constantinople) and Smyrna (s of Nicaea).

Sofia is a Wooden Castle with a large missile-type garrison so an assault would be costly. Maintaining a siege is the better option. With so many troops inside they will sally forth on the last turn and at least then your mostly spear troops will have a better chance to force hand to hand.

Also Hungary is next door so you need to move quickly against Sofia. Even then you may just barely beat the Hungarians to Sofia. If you manage to get an alliance with them don't expect their stack nearby to go anywhere. They seem to like to hang around, rather blatantly waiting for an opportunity to take Sofia away from you.

Smyrna is also a Wooden Castle but it has a much weaker garrison than Sofia. You begin with Prince John (Faction Heir) and a small stack south of Nicaea and usually get a mission to take Smyrna from the Council of Nobles pretty quickly.

While an assault is feasible waiting out a siege with a slightly reinforced army for Prince John will usually give you a casualty-free victory. The Turks don't seem particularly inclined to go after Smyrna right away even though Iconium, their capitol, is next door to the east.

I usually sack both cities but an extermination might be a better option to clear out those of other faiths in these cities.

You start with four dromons, two by Thessalonica and two by Nicosia. Pirates start popping up pretty quickly but are one ship each affairs. I suggest combining your two fleets as quickly as possible to guarantee victories and remember to patrol your waters frequently to take care of those piratical scum.

There are three land bridges in your territories so don't count on water and your ships to protect Constantinople from the Turks. There are two linking Niceae and Constantinople. One to your capitol's east and one to its southwest. There is also a landbridge linking the Corinth and Durazzo territories so don't count on Thessalonica to protect Corinth.

Mo' Florins
You begin with only one merchant and must build more economic buildings to be able to build more. There are four silk resources around Constantinople itself. This is an excellent place to begin your economic empire and as soon as possible you should have at least one merchant on each. While merchants cost 550 to produce they have 0 upkeep and the longer they are on a trade resource the more their skill, and the money you get, improves.

Dude, where's my emmisary?
You do not begin the game with a diplomat. However you can build one right away and you should in order to start contacting other factions. The Turks, Hungarians, even the Polish were very willing to share map information, trade rights and sign alliances. However the Venetians stubbornly refused to sign an alliance and generally seemed the most hostile of my neighbors.

Hot Babes and Pointy Hats
You begin with one Princess and soon start getting proposal offers especially if you use her to negotiate some. Her charm starts climbing quickly making her a more attractive potential bride. However all the proposal offers seem to be from local nobles and so I sent her further a field to see about an alliance with the Polish.


Found a Polish family member far to the north in one of their cities. Thinking that this would strengthen our alliance I sent her in and got a new general instead!?! Relations quickly began plummeting as the understandably upset Poles did not like me having an army, one general, wandering around their territories.

So I am now beginning to think Princesses may be best used to get more generals from local nobles or being used as diplomats.

You begin with one priest and without having to worry about the inquisition he is probably best used helping to convert the Catholics in Sofia. While they will probably be a lot more helpful mid-game, early-game they don't seem to be that important.

Rhodes begins as a rebel territory and there is no land bridge to it. So depending on how successful you are an invasion of Rhodes is another opportunity to use your initial ships and troops D-Day style.

Nicosia, Cyprus, gives you an excellent launch pad for invasions of the Holy Land or backdoor campaigns into Turkish err... Turkey. However it is pretty isolated from your home turf so it doesn't seem to give much benefits in the early game. I converted the Castle to a Town and focused on maximizing profits from it instead.

Durazzo is a rebel territory west of Thessalonica. While it may be hard to manage, I had to pull Prince John's stack over since the Hungarians were waiting to strike Sofia and Venice had already attacked Sofia, it is an easy capture. With a small garrison and no walls the Venetians may have already taken it by the time you get there but by then you may be at war with them anyway.

Taking Durazzo helps protect Corinth but don't get too comfy. I've heard that naval invasions are more common in M2TW.

For some reason, even on Medium, the Venetians seem quite hostile and will probably quickly be attacking your territories. The Passive AI bug gives you an edge if you have significant missile units but they keep coming and you should soon expect to have large battles with them.

Iraklion, Crete, belongs to Venice from the start so ambitious Emperors could use the four Dromon fleet to launch an invasion pretty early.

Do not expect to become real pals with anyone except possibly the Rus. While I can manage to keep Hungary so-so the Turks stay terrible but seem to be preoccupied in the early-game so you should get some breathing room before they start rolling across your borders.

Will add more as it occurs to me. All in all though I am having a lot of fun.:2thumbsup:


One surprising thing is the lack of melee cavalry, at least in the early game. You basically get three types of cavalry produceable in the early game and they are all horse archers. so any sort of light melee cavalry, like Alan, have to be picked up as mercenaries. While this will be useful against Turkish forces it can be an early disadvantage against the more attack cavalry based western factions.

Also, unlike MTW, you do not have a solid foundation of Byzantine Infantry to build on. Instead your best early melee infantry are the Byzantine Spearmen. While I didn't look to closely they seemed to have the same stats as militia spearmen only higher unit numbers.

I had originally planned to take Trebizond almost immdediately. However, I ran into a problem. The town/castle is on the far eastern side of the territory. This would make it difficult to support or reinforce it if the Turks invaded. Because of this and Venetian/Hungarian hostility you may want to wait until your western frontier is secure before attampting to tackle it and the Turks.

By then the Crusades should begin coming through and provide and adequate distraction for the Turks.

11-16-2006, 04:56
Byzantium is a nation of horsemen, and the strength of its military lies in its cavalry. The infantry is mostly cheap trash. Note, I said mostly. Basically, you have three types of infantry:

In ascending order of competence, you have town militia, spear militia, and Byzantine spearmen. All are unarmored. The difference between the first two is basically the size of the carried shield. Byzantine spearmen can form schiltron. They are all trash troops, and take lots of casualties, but they're cheap. The first two are trained in cities, but the last one must be trained at a castle with a barracks.

Your basic swordsman is the Byzantine infantry, followed by dismounted Byzantine lancers and dismounted latinkon. Byzantine infantry wear light lamellar armor and fight with sword and shield. They're decent heavy infantry. Dismounted Byzantine lancers are the same thing, but more so. Stats and cost are a bit higher. Latinkon are basically feudal european knights in the Byzantine military, so those are basically like dismounted mailed knights. They fight with sword and shield instead of spears. Byzantine infantry are recruited in cities, but the other two are from castles.

Byzantium has good archers. There are 4 types: peasant archers, militia archers, Trebizond archers, and Byzantine guard archers. The latter two have long range missles, and the guard archers wear armor and have good melee stats. All of these must be recruited at castles with archery ranges, save the militia archers, which come from cities with higher level barracks.

There is one other infantry, the Varangian Guard. These are heavy infantry with decent armor, shield, and an AP axe. They are recruited only in a huge city with the highest level barracks.

With the cavalry, you have two broad categories, melee and missile cav. As Sir Robin mentioned, at the beginning, all you have access to is the missile cav, but that's ok. These are all good.

Missile Cav
You have Skythikons, Byzantine cavalry, and Vardariatoi. Skythikons are your basic steppe horse archers: no armor, little melee attack rating, fast moving, decent missle. Byzantine cavalry are the toxic hippos from BI: medium cavalry wearing armor, good melee and missile, but slower than the others. Vardariatoi are the elite steppe archers: high missile and melee stats, armor, fast moving and good stamina, but they cost a lot more. All three of these are recruit at a castle, but no other buildings are necessary. They are all enabled by the castle itself.

Melee Cav
In the melee cavalry category, you have Byzantine lancers, Latinkon, and Kataphractoi. Byzantine lancers are medium cavalry with lances. Latinkon are mailed knights, and kataphractoi are heavily armored cavalry with lances and maces. They don't hit quite as hard in the charge but the maces are armor piercing. All require stables in a castle to recruit, and not the low level buildings either.

There is one other possibility for melee cavalry. If you can establish a merchants guild in a city, it will let you recruit militia cavalry there. They are spear armed light cavalry. Not the greatest as far as stats go, but they will probably be available first if you go that route.

11-16-2006, 22:42
My MP clan has decided to do a PBeM, no write ups just playing :yes: 10 turns each, hard battles and normal campaign. We chose Byzantium because nobody really faniced going as Muslims, except Egypt but their too far from the action and most of us played England first, so didn't really want another catholic faction.

First player has already been and I'm going second, half way through my reign.

We've decided to try and focus on Turkey, well garrisoning but not expanding on the western front. We've got Durazzo and Rhodes and I've got an army on its way to attack Venice's Island, to try and remove its naval presence from the area.

I'll let you know how it turns out.

11-17-2006, 17:51
To Quillan, didn't see Varangian guards in your Byzantine infantry list. Are those not available for Byzantines in the game?

The Varangian Guard is indeed available to the ERE. They arent cheap trash infantry though, probably why he didn't put them in there. They are a strange bunch, only available in the final barracks in a city, not a castle. There some nasty lil guys to stumble across with 20 attack 15 defense and a 2 handed armor piercing axe, they have I believe a 5-6 charge rating. Also they do carry a shield so they are not easily put down by archers.

My campaign with the ERE was going good till the a nasty little bug accord. After defeating a jihad that was driectly across a land bridge they defeated and ransomed army got stuck in the middle of the ocean. Prevented ship's from passing through, and put a zone of control over the, land bridge. That was fine and dandy, except my army couldn't attack them and my great fleet was stranded in the black sea.

I would say the ERE is just under the HRE in difficulty, maybe even a little harder later on. Whatever you do put the turks down first, I learned this the hard way. Capture the rebel town in greece and build up to at least a fortress. Once its a fortress it only takes 3-5 archers and spearment to hold it against fullstacks. Leave venice to waste itself on that, then go after the Turks all out. Vardariatio and byantine cav are your friends early on, the turks are very lightly armored and make beautiful pin cushions. Make sure to build your castles up to a level to be able to recruit dismounted lantikon, they are the same as dismounted fuedal knights and can form the core of your line.

11-18-2006, 00:56

Your navy is important as Byzantium. You start with two fleets, each of which contains two dromons, and can build more. The dromon, statistically speaking, is a mediocre warship (attack of 8), but it has one very important advantage: it has a crew of 56 (on large unit size). All the neighbors can only build galleys or dhows as their initial ships, which have a crew of 37. This gives you an advantage over the pirates and hostile neighbors. The upgraded warship is the Fire Ship, which has the same crew level (it's a dromon, after all) but has an attack of 16 due to the greek fire projectors mounted on it. The war gallies built by your neighbors have the same 56 man crew, but an attack rating of 13. Establish naval superiority early, earn command stars for your admirals, and you should be able to maintain naval superiority well on into the campaign.

Among other things you can do with it, you can use your fleets to block both the land bridges across the Hellespont. Sea trade will be your primary money maker as Byzantium, and a strong navy will help protect that. Also, your starting settlement of Nicosia, the rebel settlement of Rhodes, and the Venetian settlement of Iraklion are all on islands. You'll need fleets to get troops to and from these islands.

11-19-2006, 02:15
Rather than writing an in depth study of the byzantines, i figured i'd just share a few pointers from my game.

1) Don't trust the Catholics. I had an alliance with Hungary from about turn 3, which they broke 2 turns later, starting a long war in the west.
2) Try not to get into a multi-faction war on one front. I've only just overcome the hungarians (they refused peace so i fought an hour long battle for their capital and thus their destruction) and they managed to decimate an early army with the help of the venetians, who attacked me from behind and prompted a sally from budapest
3) You can ignore the turks for a while, but don't trust them. They came from behind as my war with hungary concluded, almost taking nicea :(
4) Having a navy isn't that important, imo. I've survived so far without anything approaching naval superiority, but this is more a result of having to churn out troops to face the catholic factions than conscious choice.
5) You dont' have to win every battle. The main strength of byzantium is their economic superiority. You can run close to borderline every turn in the knowledge that when you do take that city you'll be reimbursed and then some

That's all for now...

EDIT: Oh, and the cavalry aren't really that bad. For fun, i formed a horde led by the faction heir (around 10 units on huge sizes + his bodyguard) and went around clearing up stacks of enemy units lacking cavalry themselves. I usually got a 5:1 kills:death ratio, although this plummeted every time i had to face a general's bodyguard :P

11-19-2006, 04:56
The cavalry are most definitely not that bad. In fact, they are the opposite, exceedingly good. Now, admittedly this is a unit that's been around since the beginning of my campaign, seeing constant combat, but this guy can whip anything the mongols throw at him.

11-20-2006, 18:55
Post Gunpowder

After the development of gunpowder, Byzantium has a few new options, though not many. The campaign selection screen says they are lacking in late gunpowder units, and it's not lying. The only land gunpowder units the Byzantines can build, as far as I can tell, are bombards. They get no better cannons that these, and those aren't that great. They are very slow firing. As far as I can tell, Byzantium gets no handgunners/arquebusiers/musketmen at all, nor any firearm equipped cavalry.

On the naval standpoint, the development of gunpowder enables the building of the dockyards, which in turn enables the building of the Laternas, a cannon-equipped war galley. It has a crew of 75 (on large unit sizes) and an attack of 18. However, this ship type is buildable by other factions as well. I've seen Laternas in the hands of the European Mediterranean factions like the Papal States and the Milanese, so now naval parity has been achieved. Byzantium no longer has a naval advantage in either crew size or shipboard weaponry.

11-21-2006, 00:40
The Byzantine Empire is of the Orthodox Christian faith. The head of the church is the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, the equivalent of the Pope, but he is not modeled in the game. There are some fundamental differences in game as to how the Orthodox and Catholic churches function, and those are crucial. As Byzantium, you are not subject to the Pope. This means that you will not have the Pope giving you missions, you will not have the Pope interfering by telling you to stop conquering your catholic neighbors, you cannot be excommunicated (and thus don't have to worry about that penalty to public order), and you cannot go on crusade. Crusades CAN be called against you, though, so it's best to stay on the good side of the Papal States, at least in the early going.

You have the same line of church buildings as the catholic faith does: small church, church, abbey, cathedral and huge cathedral. However, probably in compensation for the things you lose, the conversion effect of those churches is double that of catholic churches: 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10% for the huge cathedral. Also, the Byzantine unique building is the Ikonic Art line of buildings: the Ikoner's Studio, and the Master Ikoner's Studio. These buildings have the game effect of increasing the conversion value of the orthodox church in the region by 50% and 100% respectively. In a huge city, with a huge orthodox cathedral and a master ikoner's studio (the Hagia Sophia basically), it will convert 20% of the population without any help from priests.

At the beginning of the game you have one bishop, but no priests I have created since come out with that title, even in Constantinople where I have built the Hagia Sophia in effect.

While you have no Pope-o-meter like a catholic faction does, and thus no standing directly with the Pope to worry about, fighting with catholic factions does hurt your relations with the Papal States alongside hurting relations with your target faction. This can be a small problem, as Hungary and Venice, your two western neighbors, are both catholic and both seem prone to attacking you. Depending upon circumstances, you can either blow off the Papal States if you are militarily strong enough, or appease them through gifts. I recommend cash, if you can spare it, as territory is too precious to give away.

11-21-2006, 05:45
Byzantium Melee Infantry
3^|Unit Size|Melee|Charge|Missile|Total def|Defence|Armour|Shield|Cost|Upkeep|Built?|Building
7^Town Militia|90|5|2|-|7|1|0|6|230|100|City|Wooden Wall
7^Spear Militia|112|5|2|-|7|1|0|6|310|125|City|Barracks 2
7^Byzantine Infantry|90|11|2|-|18|7|5|6|400|125|City|Barracks 4
7^Varangian Guard|90|20|6|-|15|5|7|3|520|175|City|Barracks 5
7^Peasants|112|4|1|-|3|3|0|0|110|90|Castle|Barracks 1
7^Byzantine Spearmen*|112|5|2|-|7|1|0|6|310|155|Castle|Barracks 2
7^Dismounted Byzantine Lancers|90|11|2|-|18|7|5|6|440|150|Castle|Barracks 4
7^Dismounted Latinkon|90|12|3|-|21|8|7|6|630|225|Castle|Barracks 5

*Byzantine Spearmen begin with 1 XP for each level of barracks above 2, so at barracks 5 (armoury) they'll come out with 3 xp.

Byzantium Ranged Infantry
3^|Unit Size|Melee|Charge|Missile|Total def|Defence|Armour|Shield|Cost|Upkeep|Built?|Building
7^Peasant Archers|90|2|1|5|1|1|0|0|220|100|Castle|Range 1
7^Archer Militia|90|6|1|5|3|3|0|0|250|100|City|Barracks 3
7^Trebizond Archers|90|8|2|9|7|4|0|3|460|150|Castle|Range 2
7^Byzantine Guard Archers|90|11|3|9|16|8|5|3|710|175|Castle|Range 3

Byzantium Horse Archers
3^|Unit Size|Melee|Charge|Missile|Total def|Defence|Armour|Shield|Cost|Upkeep|Built?|Building
7^Skythikon|60|6|2|6|3|3|0|0|380|175|Castle|Castle 2
7^Byzantine Cavalry|60|7|2|6|15|5|4|3|530|175|Castle|Castle 2
7^Vardariotai|60|10|4|9|17|9|5|3|800|250|Castle|Castle 3

Byzantium Shock Cavalry
3^|Unit Size|Melee|Charge|Missile|Total def|Defence|Armour|Shield|Cost|Upkeep|Built?|Building
7^Byzantine Lancers|60|8|5|-|13|4|5|4|500|210|Castle|Stable 3
7^Latinkon|60|10|8|-|15|4|7|4|730|250|Castle|Stable 4
7^Kataphractoi|60|10|6|-|16|5|8|3|790|250|Castle|Stable 5

All of these shock cavalry are treated as "knights" by the game for purposes of the Swordsmith's Guild, so having a Master or HQ building will add 1 and 2 XP respectively to these units when created.

11-21-2006, 20:38
^^ QFT - i was shocked when i saw how effective they were - i charged down crossbowmen and catapults with no problems at all :D

I just finished some tests with Byzantine cavalry units on medium. I pitted Kataphracts, Vardariotai, Byzantine Lancers and Byzantine Cavalry against Dismounted Gothic Knights. The Kats and Vard took down about 2/3 of the DGK at first charge and finished the rest with maces and swords. By the time the DGK routs or dies Vardariotai are down by 30% and Kats by 20%. I used normal sizes so on average Vardariotai were down to 28-29 and Kats to 31-32. Lancers had to charge, withdraw and charge again and they were down to 23- 24. Byzantine Cavalry lost everytime but they did kill 1/3 of the DGK on first charge.

Talk about powerful charges. I had no idea that charges could be so powerful until i read Hashashiyyin's post on how to make a good charge.

11-22-2006, 05:29
I'll have to edit this later on when I have all the details, but one possible difference between the Byzantine Infantry and the Dismounted Lancers is the number of armor upgrades they can have. There are some differences between units. For example, Byzantine Cavalry can have 2 upgrades while Vardariotai only take one. Dismounted Lancers get 3, while Dismounted Latinkon only get 1.

Edit - The list isn't complete, but the Byzantine Infantry and Dismounted Lancers do not have the same number of armor upgrades. Here's what I have so far:

3^|Max Armor Upgrades
7^Byzantine Spearmen|2
7^Byzantine Infantry|1
7^Dismounted Byzantine Lancers|3
7^Dismounted Latinkon|1
7^Byzantine Cavalry|2
7^Byzantine Lancers|3

11-22-2006, 08:58
the varangian guard are too difficult to get. it semd to me that i was going to win my h/h campaign without ever getting to use them. As they are one of the byzantines most famous units- and were available at the start date of the game irl- it is annoying that they are so difficult to get.

i ended up giving up before i finished as i got bored as it was getting failry easy. i think catholic factions are more fun because of the dynamic with the pope + crusades.

i allied with the turks earlly on which game me some breathing space to sort out other areas of expansion.i took durazzo, sofia, rhodes early on. One army then continued up and annexed the slavic steppes territories. russia seems to a little slow off the boat as i had no opposition here.
ignoring the turks initially i sent another army to the holy land. this started off taking the rebel territories like Adana and antioch. i clashed with the egyptians a few times near damascus, and following that they were too weak to prevent me continueing into egypt and crushing them.
by this time turkey declared war on my, but did so only by blockading one of my ports. i had accumulated a reasonably big army in constanople by that point mostly from mission rewards and i moved this eastwards to take on the turks. i fought few pitched battles with the turks and instead just went for their cities. the a.i is a bit dissapointingly slow to react as i was able to eliminate the turk civilization by taking all their cities when they had a full stack army in range to do something about it on several occasions.

in europe i was besieged in sofia several times by both the huns and the venecians. i just made sure the town had a lage garrison and the invaders either gave up or wer shot to pieces when they invaded.

i ended up sending my faction leader with an army over to florence which was still a rebel city. i bided my time there for a very long time waiting until until venice was left un garrisoned.

tip- try and expand fairly swiftly i think it is usefu lto be able to take on the muslims before they have managed to get their act together.
try and do the council of noble missions as much as possible, this is particularly important on harder ai settings. the council will often give you the mission to take a rebel city- often one you have just discoverd. however the council wont tell you to take a city if you already have it under seige. therfore it is woth lhaning around near rebel cities until you are actually asked to take it.

11-23-2006, 04:38
I have started using all cav armies with Byzantium and boy, they are amazing! I use 1 general, 3-4 HC, 1-2 LC and the rest are Vardariotai or Byzantine cavalry. For HC I use Frankish mercenary cav in the West and Armenian cav on the east. In RTW I never used all cav armies, but now that I 've seen how effective they are it is hard to do without them. I just finished a battle against 2 Egyptian 1000 strong armies (normal size, mine was about 750) and they had about 7-8 archer units each. The result was a heroic victory though I lost 2 ByzLancers and 2 Vardariotai units. Now I am going to try my new field army: 3 Kats, 3 Latinikon and 14 Vardariotai. I am invincible! :laugh4:

Edit: The Kats do not seem worth building. They have 2 less armor than Vardariotai (I think the Vardariotai defence skill is typo) and 2 more charge, but the Vardariotai have a 9 missile attack.

11-23-2006, 04:52
In the earlier going, a typical army for me was 1 general, 4 Vardariotai, 8 Byzantine Cavalry and 2 Skythikons. No mercs at all, no infantry, no shock cavalry other than the general's bodyguard. I only used infantry armies at the very beginning, when it was all I had, and lately, when I started assaulting the Italian cities.

Oleander Ardens
11-23-2006, 08:41
This Vardariotai seems to be a MTW Boyar on speeddrugs :dizzy2:

You basically almost get the perfect cavalry. Fast and deadly with both bow and sword, good armor and hiiiigh defense. Plus a relative low upkeep to maintain a lot of these demigods....

Fast and light to medium HA taking down Dismounted GK in a melee, no something doesn't sound right there :no:


Rosacrux redux
11-23-2006, 10:51
I have had a nasty surprise in my current Byz campaign. I have got almost all Asia Minor from the Turks and the Mongols came up. While they kept losing stack after stack trying to get my uber-fortified Adana, I pitched a full stack (vardariots mostly, few guard archers, one kata and the general) of mine against a typical stack of theirs.

They bloody decimated me! How all-powerful are the bloody mongols? The highlight piece: 4 (FOUR) units of Vardariots encircle their general - in order to shoot the MF to oblivion. Well, guess what: I turned the other way around to deal with the rest of their army and next thing I saw, two of the vardars at 1/2 strength and one routing... The Mongol still standing. What is this, Jedi Mongol general or something?

11-27-2006, 17:00
By the way, the strategy guide says Vardariots should be available in the high and late periods only, whereas in the game, they are available right away and from the most basic castle level. Could it be a bug? Their availability makes Byzantine cavalry obsolete, IMHO.

11-27-2006, 17:09
It's not the most basic level, it's the 3rd. You have to go from a Motte & Bailey to a Wooden Castle to a Castle. Corinth starts as a Castle, while Nicosia is a Wooden Castle.

12-01-2006, 10:42
I should preface this by stating that I have played another Byzantine game previously which like most others here focussed on a Venetian war early on when my initial plan was to hit the turks.

I play VH battle /H campaign and really wanted to fight to regain control of Asia Minor from the start but found that you simply cannot ignore the catholic west at the beginning of the game when the Turks are ready to fall. What I have found though is that although you cannot ignore the west you can in fact avoid fighting there by adoption of an early warning system plus diplomacy. I started out by creating an army in the west out of the garrisons available at the beginning in Constantinople, Thessalonika and Corinth. I moved the princess to establish early contact with Hungary, who i left to take Sofia but sold trade rights and maps to and made a diplomat to send to Venice. The western army moved initially against any rebels and began constructing a perimiter of watch towers, my diplomat reached Venitian territory and was actually able to establish an alliance that has so far held ( about 30 turns now ), even with me taking Durazzo on a council mission. To keep the peace I simply maneuver my western army to shadow any likely Venetian or Hungarian incursions. In the meantime I have teched up like mad in the west and can now field both Byzantine Infantry and Byzantine Guard along with the Vardariots who served as the initial backbone of my forces in the west. Any Venetian or Hungarian attack can now be dealt with using the western half of my forces. Meanwhile in the East i have taken Smyrna, Rhodes and Adana, Smyrna and Adana remain castles with everything else converted to cities.

In short i am now in the position of having a strong economy with access to decent units and am preparing a strike at a weakly defended Iconium as my first step in restoration of Byzantine authority in Asia minor whilst enjoying military strength and peace in the west.

Rosacrux redux
12-01-2006, 12:35
Good luck and act fast - when the horde comes, once they got Antioch they'll come after Asia Minor, wave after wave after wave... and when you think you're done with the Mongols, the Timurids and their uber-elefants will give you a run for your money... damn crappy byzantine units, they can't stand against anything...

12-11-2006, 11:56
While playing my second game as the byzantines i thought i`d share my opinion about how to get started.
Your initial position gives a great start financialy and military
Your initial targets must be 2
1.take smyrna (this way u get a reward from your nobles)
2.take sofia(it is a race against the hungarians which u must win so that u can then expand to the north in bucarest and possibly iasi).
After u take smyrna take your general and his army,board him on a ship and head to the middle east.U can then take acra or antiochia before the egyptians.
From there on it is on to damascus(race against the egyptians-it also has a large guard) or to adana
U can make corinth into a city-more cash and also take rhodes and turn it in to a city.
Dont go for durazzo in the west early on(it takes a lot of time to develop and u get into a confrontation with venice early on which u dont want)
I think from then on your goal is to take as many of the rich cities in the east as possible(edessa,aleppo,adana,damascus).
Key military units 1.vardariotai of course
2.byzantine infantry(good,reliable,not expensive)
3.trebizont and byzantine guard archers
Mercenaries:Bulgarian brigands(good meele and archers).
Hope I helped u somewhat:beam:

12-12-2006, 16:42
If you are playing Byzantines, does it make sense to put your merchants on resources right next to your capital? I have not played the faction yet, but, from the description of merchants, their yields are at minimum if placed near their faction's capital (Constantinopole). For Byzantines, it would make more sense to send their merchants to take over amber in the north or gold in Timbuktu.

12-13-2006, 01:24
Merchants are a bit of an issue with Byzantium. The 4 silk resources near Constantinople are a wonderful training ground for new merchants, but they don't generate a lot of money per turn from trading. The most I ever got was perhaps 70 florins a turn, and that was with a merchant with a very high finance skill.

One key point with merchants is that you want them to pick up the Monopolist trait, which is good for +3 finance at the highest level. It only seems to come when the merchant is trading a resource which occurs twice in that province. I left one merchant standing on the wine in Rhodes for his entire life span and he never got the first point, but 5-10 turns on the silk near the capitol would at least get the first rank and perhaps the second of the trait. Once that's done, however, there aren't a whole lot of good resources to use for trading. Silk is largely worthless since it's right there, wine and grain aren't worth a lot. There is a gold down just by Ragusa which is probably the best bet to sit on, also the amber near Krakow is quite valuable. The problem is, if they go too far away from the capitol, then the Loyal to Coin line of traits pops up, each one worth -1 finance.

Use the silk near Constantinople to train new merchants until they hit Monopolist, then move them elsewhere. Trade what you can, but you'll probably do better taking over other merchants than strictly trading.

12-13-2006, 11:52
I think you get the Monopolist trait by being the only faction trading a paticular recource in a given province, I also think you need more than 1 of that recource in the province for it to apply.

Patriarch of Constantinople
12-26-2006, 07:41
Ok, Byzantium.

Where to start?

I always start at Smyrna, since later it will be a council mission. Then I attack Durrazo (I think that's the name), then build defences and train troops to defend against future war with Venice (trust me, they will attack sooner or later). Run to Sophia before Hungary gets it. If they do, it's a base of possible invasion of Greece and Constantinople. Attack Trebizond, as it will give you a second front against Turkey (along with Smyrna).


Don't just focus on Turkey. When I did that, Greece fell to Hungary and Venice. So, stock up troops on the Western Coast of Greece. This should be good for defense against Venice. If you capture Sophia, you have a base to launch attacks on Hungary, if you didn't capture it. Capture it. When you secure your Northern and Western parts of your Roman Empire, attack Turkey. By this time, you should have Trebizond, Ibisil and Smyrna. Launch a 3 way attack on Turkey to knock it out quickly. Once that is done, mop up Hungary and Venice.

01-01-2007, 02:36
From what little experience I have with Byzantium, I found that your best bet is to take those elite horse archers and storm Europe. The AI's handling of infantry-heavy armies is poor at best, so you can really rip them apart with relatively few losses. Why fight cavalry with cavalry in the east when your cavalry can pretty much run about unopposed in the west? Control the black sea and the eastern mediterranean and you can effectively seal yourself off from the east.

The cities on the eastern mediterranean coast are very lucrative, but you run into a lot of trouble with egypt, turkey, the mongols and timurids. In the west, your toughest fights might be polish nobles and, to a lesser extent, some european horse archers. Other than that, it's pretty much down to wiping out their archers and playing around with their infantry. Crossbowmen are particularly vulnerable when you charge them just as they start their long reload animation (the only downside being you sometimes eat a volley at point blank range just before reaching them in melee).

01-02-2007, 15:53
As "The Empire of the Greeks" as Byzantium was referred to by the contemporary westerners, you face some serious challenges. To the east, the Turks expand rapidly and have a very good unit roster that truely becomes scarey as the game progresses. To the west, Hungary and Venice are hellbent on controlling eastern Europe, to include your Greek provinces. Venice, as usual, will declare war on anything within 100 provinces of it's frontier. Those itallian x-bow/spear militia armies can be costly to destroy, and the availability of the units makes it easy for the AI to put together stacks.

On top of all this, you will have full stacks of Crusaders streaming through your provinces. Apparently someone told them to "Go east to where the men speak Italian, and continue until they speak something else." Even worse, after the Crusade, all the late comers will revert to their despicable barbarian roots and may decide that, having missed their chance at absolution, they might as well sack one of your cities and get drunk off the Imperial wine.:furious3:

However, Byzantium has some nice units to protect that wine:beam: ! To use them effectively, you must get out of the western tactical state of mind. Your strength is in your missle troops and your flexibility. You can dance around heavy western units and pepper them to death, but you are still heavy enough to stomp on the heads of light eastern troops.

Killing them sofly with your (bow) song... - Drowning the Latins in Arrows
Against western armies, I use horse archers and Alan mercs (I can't say enough about these turbo charged lancers) to ravage the enemies missle troops. I manuever my infantry and foot archers up and shoot the enemy to pieces. With 4 units of Archer Guards shooting from behind spearmen and 4 Vards peppering the foe from behind or the side, the enemy will be torn to shreds. Any attempt to attack the Vards results in kiting the enemy away from the main force where they can be surrounded and killed. An assualt on my foot archers will get caught up on the spears and counter charged by the next line of swordsmen, and possibly flanked by melee cavalry.

Swatting Flies - The annoying Turkish Horse archers
Against the Turks, you want to get on top of them quickly. Chase them all over with your Vards and Alans. Keep your infantry walking toward them along with your heavy cavalry. As soon as a enemy horse archer gets caught up in melee, charge them with more units. They will soon route. Make sure you keep someone chasing them until they are gone. Another option is to capture the high ground, which the skirmish mode enemies will happily abandon, and then rain your long range missles down on the turks from above. Once the enemy horse archers get in range, they will usually do the shooting circle. This just makes them easier to catch with Alans or Vards.

Insert Homophobic joke here - A Greek Navy
Build up your navy. Crush your enemies navy. Done? You now have the best way to travel. Anatolia is horrible to travel over. It is full of mountains and rivers and twists and turns and Turks. Why deal with all that when you can take a ship and be where you want in half the time? You can also ferry troops around to Greece, Anatolia, your islands and the Holy Land with little fear of loosing them. Navys are also handy in keeping the Hellespont and Black Sea closed, your ports open and pockets full of port generated coin.

"I claim these lands in the name of Emperor Theodociousodopoloulisadopis Basilicianousisou!!!" - Conquering yourself some space
I decided to first concentrate on the Aegean Sea area. I conquered Smyrna and Rhodes quickly. I turned Rhodes into a town for the economic benefit. Having sent an all cavalry army west, I overtook the unwalled settlement of Durazzo. The next obvious target was Iraklion. I used the small army that had taken Smyrna and Rhodes to stage an amphibious assualt on the Venicians of Iraklion.

I allied with the Hungarians and even guarenteed that they succeeded with a crusade on Antioch. I let them pass, and then blocked the Hellespont and some of the river crossings in Antolia to delay the other Catholic factions.

Next I planned to conquer the Turks. However, my beloved allies, the Hungarians, decided that I was a puppy eating devil. They attacked Constantinople and were driven back. I turned my Army of Turkish Conquest into an Army of Hungarian Conquest. I already had a Western Army, and togethr the two stacks turned the Hungarians into gooey red goloush. I am just mopping them up now.

I sent a small force to the Crimean to take Caffa. It is easy to take and has two slave resources just outside. Once you get a port, it turns into a budding money farm.

I need to get on with dismembering the Turks ASAP. Their unit roster gets better and better and I don't want to have Jannisarries breathing down my neck when the Mongols arrive. I am hoping to smash the Turks western provinces and then letting them recover in the east so they can damage the Khans cowboys.

Georgodopolous likes his chicken spicy... - Trading
Trading silks is ok. It makes decent money, but being just outside Constantinople, you dont get that great a return. The far bettter choice is to trade sugar and spices from the provinces around Antioch. New merchants will start in the high 60s and mid-levels will make around 200:beam: . The gold mines near Trerbizond and in the Balkans are good choices too. If you conquer the Crimean, you can trade in slaves for a good return and with little competition.

Can't we all just get along? - Diplomacy
No we can't. Don't bother allying with anyone, they will just backstab you, crusade against you or call a jihad on you. Consider everyone your enemy and be ready for an attack from every direction.

All and all, the Byzantines have a tough starting area, but with the flexibilities of their armies and their ability to make a lot of coin, it is nothing that can't be managed.

01-10-2007, 03:55
I love Byzantine history. I love the byzantines, but I have been trying to deal with the Byzantine campaign problems. The Byzantine Empire gets awesome horse archers, infantry, and heavy cavalry, but lacks gunpowder and seems to have extraordinary porous borders. I mean, one campaign I was laying waste to the Turks in Anatolia, then out of the blue 2 hungarian and 1 polish army attack me! But through some careful reading, problems solving, and much swearing I have figured out a solution. It is based off the concepts of the Comnenion Army and the Themata system. What you do is create 2 field armies, which are meant for attacking, slaughtering and having a good, old time. Doesnt really matter what you have in them, but my usual setup is 1 general, 4 byzantine infantry, 4 vardotai, 4 cataphracts, 4 trebizond/guard archers and a couple of catapults and assorted mercenaries, depending on your preferences. that is the Comnenion Army part. The themata part is a tad different and acts as more of a strategic reserve. to prevent sneaky armies from sneaking into your empire with sneaky intentions, build a fort at each river crossing and in mountain chokepoints. I usually put 1 infantry, 1 archer, and 1 cavalry unit in each. These garrisons dont have to be anything special, just there. then, over the course of the game, build fill up the garrisons of all your cities with the units that get the free upkeep bonus, SO YOU ONLY HAVE TO PAY FOR THEM ONCE, MWUAHAHAHAHAHA...Ahem. the point is, when you get attacked by sneaky minions of the Head Pontiff, you have little, waste garrisons to block the enemy, a field army to deal out the pain, and huge reserves of soldiers to lay waste to the invader if your field army gets WI-FI INTERNET ACCESS or is under repairs. plus its fun to see the massive reserves you are capable of bringing out ot teach your enemies a lesson.

Snoil The Mighty
01-10-2007, 09:20
This faction has been my "Appreciation of Forts" faction. The Porous borders have numerous very nice choke points, take adavantage. Dont leave those Gens in your cities, have em work the borders! (very fun Faction!)

Romeus Petrus
01-17-2007, 18:44
I still can't figure out a good way to defend cities and castles since your infantry even at the higher levels are not that solid.

Yesterday my precious Constantinople fell to a Mongols Jihad group; despite the fact that I had 8 varangian guards on the gate when their ram finally knocked it down. And BTW despite having six T-archers on the walls they couldnt burn the ram down. After the gate went down, the mongols stormed my lines with their cavalary and the rest was a massacre. My V guards all fought till they died, the mongols went on to kill my general and 2 other family members, and the city fell. I dont know why CA decided to give my favourite faction such utterly weak units.

Any advice on how to defend cities as the byzantines?

01-17-2007, 19:03
Unless your running one of the bug fixes for it. Vargarian guard will not fight in melee no matter what. Use somthing else to defend the walls. Other than that, use spears vs. cav, just make sure you get the spears to charge the cav and not the other way round, (unless your running a sheild fix too).

p.s. when fixed, vargarian Guard are truely scary.

01-17-2007, 19:28
For infantry, use Byzantine Infantry (from cities) or dismounted Byzantine Lancers or Latinkon (from castles). You can also sprinkle in a nice mix of Byzantine Guard Archers as well, since those guys are just about as strong in melee as they are in missile fire. It's near impossible to burn a ram; it happens, but rarely. If you're defending a huge city, make sure you have ballista towers. For the Byzantines, they fire cannonballs instead of ballista bolts. The ram might still survive, but they do a better job than archers do.

01-18-2007, 05:42
I find the best thing to as Byzantium, is to do what Alexis did historically.
Small Grab. Hold, small grab, hold. let the crusades through your lands and follow in behind em, Grab, hold.

The Byzantines postion aint pretty.
In my campiang i had stacks comming in from hungary, the turks and veince all at once.

So be warned.

Make certain you build up your economy. If you do it right, soon enough you will have 'restored the byzantine postion of wealth'.

Cavalry and navy are key for any byzantine strategty.
When you start getting your medium level units, Infantry, lancers, and dismounted lancers, then you can start going to kick some ass.

01-18-2007, 12:29
The Guard Archers are very useful - they can be used along side something like the Latinkon in an arquebus/pikeman role.

Carl, which is the Varangian fix? (I may have asked you this in another thread as well, apologies :laugh4: )

01-18-2007, 12:42
Link to a fix here (https://forums.totalwar.org/vb/showthread.php?t=77759)

01-18-2007, 14:41
sorry for offtopic but these fixes are they planned on CAs part in the next patch? I love this game and I don't want to buff units unless its absolutely neccessary.

01-18-2007, 15:21
yep, perhaps not exactly as i've done it, but thats because they'll be creating new unbugged animations for the bugged animation units and fixing whatever it is that messs up sheilds. Pikes will also likliy get some engine work. 2-Handed swords will then need work to be balance. Their are the odd bugs with this fix, namely that sheild units are more resistant to enfidile fire than they should be and that they are less resistant to AP attacks than they should be. But overall it fixes a lot of major bugs and only creates a few minor ones.

01-19-2007, 21:48
Talk about porous boarders in my Byzantine campaing i had a Papal army having a camping expedition in the mountains between Durazzo and Corinth. It was a good army as well and all it got me was the contempt of every Catholic country the scoundrals!

Gray Beard
01-23-2007, 09:43
At the suggestion of later posters This walk through should be read as how to play and Eastern strategy with the Byzantines. It is possible to do well playing differently but this is still my favored way to approach this faction against the computer.

Thoughts and Perspectives
This was originally for my own consumption from notes I made as I tried to figure out how to use the Byzantine forces in MTW2. While it is possible to unlock the factions by editing the “Medieval2.preferences” file without winning a game using the Western European factions first I would recommend against it. Playing the English or French is much easier and is useful in learning how the game mechanics work and will save you lots of frustration.

If you unlock the game and jump into the Byzantines you will lose repeatedly (I know this from experience). So, be patient and play the bloody English or the snobby French, the vicious Spanish or decadent HRE once on the easiest setting and unlock the game. Then you can move on to the last truly worthy Empire the world has seen and see if you can overcome the rapacious Turks and greedy Venetians and revive the glory of Rome. You'll learn a lot about how the game works and gain some tolerance for the uncivilized barbarians as well.

I will approach this walk through in a topical and descriptive manner. I am also dealing with strategy not tactics. If you are looking for tips on fighting battles look somewhere else. I am not the best of generals. Most of the time and always on huge battles I let the computer command my forces. But, it is true wars are often won before they are fought. I am going to describe the best way I have found to win before you fight. It is my job to get my empire in the financial, military and political condition to win. If I do this then my generals can handle the the battles and the empire can with stand the strains of war. If these are not done then almost no amount of generalship will prevail.

I will also assume that you are using the default “medium” settings for the game. However, I'd recommend using the “Easy” settings the first time you play the Byzantines.

How I Approach Playing the Byzantines

There are several keys to surviving more than 25 turns as the Byzantines.
1.You have to be aggressive. You must start acquiring territory and subduing the Turks from the FIRST turn

2.You have to be cunning and know how to use your spies, diplomats and Merchants without causing a war. This means being aggressive and cautious at the same time

3.You have to be able to live on the edge of your finances for the first 20 to 30 game turns. You will need to take chances and if anything goes wrong before you get the East under control you will probably lose because you will not have the extra cash to build another army quickly enough.

4.You have to be ruthless. When you take a city or castle from the Turks or a rebel settlement you should exterminate the inhabitants unless they are at least 75 percent orthodox. You don't have time to convert populations. Kill them gain control and move on. You will also sometimes find it useful to attack a settlement sack it, destroy all the buildings you can for the cash and move just out side the city. Let it revolt, unlike MTW it does not revert to the previous owner but becomes a rebel controlled province. You're are then able to move on rapidly to the next enemy town. Alternately, try giving the town to a more peaceful Catholic faction not contiguous with you. Giving Venice to the Portuguese can cause your opponents all sorts of problems and create a buffer between you and those wish to invade you.

5.You have to win all of your first six or seven battles against the Turks, and you first two against Venetians. You should NEVER lose to Rebels

If the plan works, you have a good chance to not only survive but win the game long before gunpowder units threaten you. If it fails you are dead meat by 1125 AD. It has been my experience that this strategy works about ½ the time if you implement it right. It can work more often if you are a good general yourself


The Byzantines are, I think the toughest faction to play in MTW2.
1.This is because they are one of only two factions (The Russians are the other) that can be attacked indiscriminately by any other Christian faction without being excommunicated by the Pope and still may have Jihads called against them.

2.Unlike the Russians the Byzantines do not start with the edge of the map at their back they are trapped between four or five hostile powers; the Venetians, the Hungarians, the Turks and later by the Egyptians and Milianese.

3.In the early stages of the game they have very poor offensive troops. This is not a shortcoming that can be made up for with mercenaries because mercenaries are primarily missile and spear troops which are defensive troops. Spear and missile troops must be used with great caution when attacking or they lose even when the Byzantines out number their opponents by large margins.

4.While the Byzantine missile cavalry is very good they lack any form of heavy cavalry with a lance that can be reached quickly. That means the Byzantines must defend against Knights with unarmored spearmen. Your best option is to hire mercenary Frankish knights or possibly Alan cavalry or Armenian Cavalry. But these are hit and miss as to availability and retraining is problematic. They are also expensive. Armenian Cavalry, for example, are somewhat better than Byzantine Lancers but cost 1080 gold to recruit and over 300 per turn in maintenance.

If you are playing against the computer it is possible to overcome these shortcomings but to do that you must do several things and use the few advantages that you have.

Strengths & Advantages

The Byzantines have several temporary advantages that you must you to their full if you are to have any hope. If you don't use these advantages while you can you'd better be willing to use a cheat code because otherwise you are lost.

1.Emperor Alexis has six command stars; he is a tremendous tactician one of the best that any faction has in the Early game. You must take him out of Constantinople and use him to win a blitzkrieg war against the Turks. But, you have to move fast he isn't young. Use him while he lives and pray that he lives to be 100!

2.Crown Prince John has five command stars and is also a very good commander. You must use him wisely as well. If you can keep him alive long enough to train another couple of generals up you may not just survive but win.

3.The Dromon is a better ship in the early game than almost any one else has. Control of the seas is extremely important and the Byzantines can easily control the Eastern Mediterranean, if they can build enough ships.

4.The Byzantines start with a large population which lets you build lots of troops. While you still need a good general to win battles you must make up for lake of troop quality with sheer numbers; and you can

Using these to their fullest will allow you get into a position where you can survive. But you have to do several other things

Things You Must Do

1.As stated above, you have to go after and beat the Turks starting from the first move of the game. If you play it right you'll take three Turkish cities at once. However, if you take even two of the Turkish cities in the same move you'll have the Turks on their knees.

2.You must get to the point where you can build an offensive infantry unit. There are two of these that are reachable by the time the inevitable 1st Venetian war starts, Byzantine Swordsmen and Dismounted Lancers. They have the same stats. One is built from a castle and the other from a town. The Dismounted Lancers are a little more expensive because they can be improved farther but the easiest one to get to is the swordsmen and you can build them in Constantinople by upgrading two times to a drill square.

3.You must marry Anna Comenus to the Hungarian Faction heir. This buys you a bit of time when the inevitable 1st Venetian war starts. Indeed, the longer you can keep the Hungarians at peace with you the better. Marrying Anna to the Hungarians may keep the Hungarians from going to war with you for 100 years if you are lucky

4.There are are a total of 10 rebel provinces within easy striking distance of Byzantine armies at the beginning of the game. These are Smyrna, Trebizond, Tbilisi, Adana, Antioch, Aleppo, Edessa, Sophia, Bucharest and Durazzo not to mention Sarkel and the Crimea. You need to take at least seven of them with the possible exception of Durazzo, Bucharest and Sophia before you go to war with the Venetians

5.You must develop your economy so that you can have the money to build the buildings that get you better troops. That means building not only training facilities but farms and ports, markets and fairs to give you the income needed for a long war.

The War to Destroy the Turks

There are several good reasons to go after the Turks rather than the Venetians at the beginning of the game:

1.Because when you attack the Turks the Egyptians don't declare war on you. If you immediately go after the Venetians or Hungarians the other will attack and the Turks won't be far behind. Then you'll probably end up in a two front war against three nations at once and that is a good way to say “You lose” early in the game.

2.Byzantine troops do not seem to match up well against the Venetians. At least in the early game the Turks seem to be easier for the Byzantines to take on.

3.The Turks really have nobody else to fight. It is possible that the Venetians will be in a war with the Milanese or HRE and the Hungarians with the Polish. If they get into a war with someone else you'll gain time to develop your economy and troop types.

4.There are a large number of rebel provinces in the East which you can bring under your control. These, when combined with the Turkish provinces make a unified and easy to control empire.

5. Because the Turks are in four provinces that are difficult to travel between. This means it is is very hard for the Turks to send aid from one city to another. If you attack the Turks from three directions at once you prevent them from being able to reinforce one front with troops from another.

6. The Turks start with four provinces. The Venetians and Hungarians combined have (I think) five between them. You are taking out your biggest enemy first.

How to Start
(Note: This walk through gets fuzzier as the moves pass because there are too many variables to account for.)

Turn 1
Building: City Watch
Troops: 1X Urban Militia and 1X Spear Militia 1X ship
(You need the extra Droman to ensure that you can deliver your troops to Trebizond.)
Building: Land Clearance
Troops: 2X Urban Militia
Building; Port
Troops: None
Building: Land Clearance
Troops : None
Building: None
Troops: None

Prince John: South towards Smyrna
Orthodox Bishop: East into Turkish territory
Spy East toward the Greek coast
Move two ships in the Aegean to the harbor in Constantinople
Move two ships in the Eastern Mediterranean to point on coast just North of Nicosia

Adjust tax rates to the highest level each city can maintain

Move #2
Troops: 1X Spear Militia


Troops 2X Urban Militia

Build: Garrison Quarter

Prince John:
Troops 1x Armenian Archer Mercenary

Alexis + 1X Trebizond Archer + 1X Urban Militia + 3XSpear Militia into ships in harbor - Then Move ALL THREE ships from Constantinople to the East side of the Bosporus in the Black sea just beyond the river (Where Troops from Nicaea can board them next turn) - Then move Evangelos Exotrochas and 3X Byzantine Spear men +2XTrebizond Archers+1X Town Militia from Nicaea towards the coast to board ship in turn three

Prince John lays Smyrna under siege

Turn #3

Thessaloníki =Dirt roads
Corinth = Dirt Roads
Nicosia = nothing
Nicaea = Port
Smyrna = Repair or build castle

Constantinople: Diplomat + 1X Spear Militia
Nicosia = Byzantine Cavalry if you have any left
Smyrna = delete Armenian Archers

Load Evagelos on ships with Alexis and ships and sail East up the coast towards Trebizond (Trebizond is about 2 1/2 moves away)

John towards Thessaloníki - at the end of his move build a watch tower
Diplomat towards Raggusa
Move spy so that he can see Ragussa, Durazzo and Zagreb but do not attempt to enter any of the cities. You need to see where moving armies are not what is in the cities. Also If the spy is caught in the city it makes the Venetians more likely to attack you so keep him in the country side and observe.

Note: Another family member should have appeared somewhere. Move Him towards Smyrna

Establish diplomatic relations with Hungarians near the city of Sophia. Marry princess to faction heir

You will receive a reward for taking Smyrna. If it is 4X Vartaroi move them towards Thessaloníki or Smyrna If it is two Dromons move them towards Smyrna

If it is 2500 gold then purchase 1X Dromon at Constantinople and other troops in Nicosia or better yet a Dromon and an economic improvement somewhere

Move #4
Smyrna = Dirt Roads
Turks offer trade rights and map information-accept but do not ally

Turn #5
Alexis lands and places Trebizond under siege
Ships begin returning to Constantinople
John builds watchtower at the end of his turn
If you have a ship at Smyrna - load family member 1X Cavalry + 2Xspear +1X archer in ships near Smyrna and head to Rhodes
Another Family Member should appear in Constantinople or Nicaea move towards Smyrna with any Urban militia or Spear militia you can spare.

Troop builds
Nicosia Start building Byzantine Spearmen

Move #6
Alexis takes Trebizond OCCUPIES IT leaves one Urban Militia and marches East (to the right) up the coast towards Tiblisi
John Continues towards Thessaloníki
Family Member places Rhodes under siege

Move # 7
Alexis continues towards Tiblisi and should be able to see it at the end of his move.
Rhodes falls. Family Member boards ship and heads towards Cyprus
Continue building army in Cyprus

Move 8
Alexis places Tiblisi under siege (If the Turks have already taken it you may wish to wait until you land an army at Adana)
John Reaches Thessaloníki
Continue building army in Nicosia
Begin building some cavalry and 1 peasant in Smyrna

Move #9
Alexis takes Tiblisi - Repair and strengthen his army as you can
Continue building army in Nicosia (Build only one peasant)

Move #10
Ship reaches Cyprus and combines with other two ships.
Load everything except for on peasant into the ships at Nicosia if you've been diligent this should be about 15 units plus anything you've taken with you from Rhodes . Move towards coast of Adana

Start moving the family member in Smyrna with any cavalry you've managed to build there towards Iconium but do not set a route TO it have your route stop just out side the city. You don't want to declare war yet. Purchase any Mercenary you can. You will need a big army.

Diplomat arrives at Ragussa. Offer trade rights to Venetians offer to pay 100 gold per turn for 20 turns as tribute. If the Venetians have not taken Durazzo offer a prayer of thanks it probably means they are fighting someone up North

Move #11
Move the Ships with the army from Nicosia to South Coast of Lesser Armenia land troops and look around If the Turks have not taken Adana place it under siege. If they've taken it just stand there and move Alexis down from Tbilisi towards Zeveran
Continue moving towards Iconium buy another mercenary

By this time you should be starting to build Spear Militia in Thessaloníki

Move 12
Take Adana - Exterminate the population leave one peasant or urban militia (You could bring in another one from Nicosia if you need and have the cash) and move the entire army towards Caesarea

Alexis moves towards Zeveran leaving only an urban militia in Tblisi

Army moves next to Iconium hire another Mercenary

Move 13
Besiege Caesarea, Iconium and Zeveran
Build peasants or cheap cavalry in Tblisi

Move 14
Exterminate the populations in Zeveran, Caesarea and Iconium.
(If you wish to guarantee winning at Iconium use Prince John rather than the other Family Member and send John back West)

You may need to send some help from Caesarea towards Iconium if the siege there was unsuccessful. Otherwise move that army, less a garrison back towards Adana.

Move 17
Alexis takes Mosul
FM that took Caesarea may take Antioch if the Egyptians haven't

Move 20
Alexis takes Eddessa
FM takes Aleppo

Move 21
Army built in Mosul without a FM puts Baghdad under siege

At the end of this process you will have all or most of the following provinces under your control.
2.Durazzo (possibly)
14. Nicosia
15. Mosul
16. Eddessa
17. Aleppo
18. Antioch (possibly)
19. Baghdad
20. Sarkell (If you are bold)

These 19 or 20 provinces are defended by 5 because you can only be attacked over land through Durazzo, Thessaloníki, Tbilisi, Aleppo and Antioch. That means that if you can weasel even a few more turns of peace you will have considerable economic muscle. Since you need 45 provinces to win including Jerusalem (Which you are in marching distance of) and Rome you are well on you way

A Few Tricks
At the beginning of the game build a diplomat and send him to the Venetians. Provided that they are not already moving armies into your territory to attack you. Obtain trade rights, then exchange maps. Then offer to pay them 100 gold per turn for 50 turns. Sometimes they will take this. If they do you gain time because believe it or not the computers wants the tribute. Losing a 100 gold a turn will hurt you a lot less than than being able to build your economy and reach those hard to get troops

Don't garrison with mercenaries if you can avoid it. Hire mercenaries fight the battle, take the town and dismiss them. Garrison your towns that are not on your borders with militia that you don't have to pay upkeep on. While they are poor attack troops they are useful in defending and keeping down civil unrest. Once you build them there is no upkeep cost. 8 x militia Spearmen + 8 x Militia archers + 4 x Merchant cavalry will make a walled city very difficult to take. They also give you huge hordes if you have to go to war.

Don't take the Venetians out at one whack. When they attack the first time take Iraklion. Make peace and build. When they attack you the next time take Ragussa and Zagreb. This helps to keep your reputation better with the other schismatics. Leaving the Venetians with just Venice can be kind of fun to watch. You can do this because when the Venetians attack they'll probably need most of what they've got. That means Somebody else may, after a turn or two attack them. If you've taken Iraklion and they suddenly begin moving armies North then sue for peace. Then wait for them to break the peace and attack you again. The reason this is a good idea is that you don't want to limp into Zagreb only to have another faction take it from you. It also helps to have the Venetians in Venice. The Milanese have to march through them to get to you.

If you are not at war, after subduing the Turks and the rest of Asia-Minor save some cash for hard times If you start a move with 5000 gold only spend 4000. If the next move the start is 6000 only spend 4000 and so on. Add a 1000 gold to your reserve every year you are not at war. If your finances improve add more. For example, if you sack a city and get 20,000 only spend 10,000 It takes discipline but over the course of 10 or 20 years you can build up a huge pile of reserves. This seems to help your merchants resist being taken over and gives you the ability to make that very special bribe to the garrison in a hard to take city such as Venice. Paying a 30,000 in gold bribe to take a huge city can be a bargain. It also gives you the ability to wage a large scale war that requires you to keep armies in the field and pay for their support.

I talked about the Power position of having 20 provinces defended by 5 above. But, it gets better. If you take out the Egyptians you can add

21. Alexandria
22. Cairo
23. Donga
24. Jedda
25. Gaza
26. Jerusalem
27. Acre
28. Damascus
29. Ragussa (probably)
30. Iraklion (probably)
31. Sophia
32. Zagreb (Probably)
33. Bucharest
34. Tripoli
35. Tunis
36 Venice (Maybe)
You can then defend 36 provinces from Sarkell, Venice, Zagreb, Sophia, Bucharest Tuniis.

Indeed, you can push all the way down the coast of North Africa without increasing the number provinces that you need to defend. What this means in a perverse way is that while I have found that the Venetians are a greater threat to you the Egyptians are a more economically viable target. Venice is hard to control. There are too many cities within a days march of one another. If you can stabilize your Western border or see the Venetians and Hungarians in a desperate war with other powers build up and march on Egypt.

Egypt is harder to down than the Turks and I'll post another "How To" on them later.

This post has been edited for grammar and minor sequencing issues

01-25-2007, 22:36
I haven't had the Turks attack me over the course of two games (now three so far). Maybe I am just lucky. I will say that once you start with Venice it usually turns into the HRE, Milan and/or Hungary coming after you as well. It's a mess. Fortunately the turks just forget about me.

I have found that Vardariotai positioned behind the enemy's lines will decimate a Western Army. I then use Byzantine Archers (or is it guard?) to pepper them from the front. The only problem I have with the Byzantines is that they lack a good spear unit to counter cavalry. But I usually just use the Vardariotai for that too once the cavalry is engaged with my dismounted lancers/byzantine swordsmen.

01-26-2007, 08:34
Aetius22, after reading Gray Beard's excellent post, I'm curious about what territories you conquered for your victories. Did you ally with the Turks? Did they provide a buffer against the Mongols?

01-26-2007, 14:09
I disagree with Grey Beard about Byzantines being difficult to play. They aren't. In fact, early on they are the simplest and easiest faction to use. Just gotta rely on Byzantine strong points, of which they have three early on:

1) Great generals. Both Alexius and John are excellent tacticians, yes, they will eventually die, but not before they are able to carve out a large empire for the Romanoi.

2) Vardariotai. These guys are so overpowered, it makes beating your neighbors in the field akin to taking candy from a baby. The only meaningful counter to these guys are the pavise xbow units which take some time for the Catholics to build the pre-req structures. Now, Vards can't storm cities, but they can still starve them out, so it's not a big deal).

3) Navy. Dromons and Fire Ships kill everything else with ease.

Also, Turks aren't much of a threat. Nikaea and Smyrna are the only settlements in Asia Minor worth taking and holding onto, and they are easily re-enforceable. Plus, it takes a while before Turks get any kind of meaningful Navy going.
Venice, on the other hand, is a menace. I wait for them to sneak attack me, then take all their holdings except for Venice itself. From that point they aren't a threat.
Anyhow, my usual order of expansion is as follows:
Smyrna/Durazzo/Sofia (attacking armies sent to all three on the first turn), Rhodes, Kaffa, Iraklion, Ragusa.

I also convert I convert Thessalonica into a castle (because of its central location) and also keep Smyrna and Ragusa as castles. Everything else gets converted into cities. That's it, the initial expansion is finished, the Empire is secure, now it's time to settle in for a bit, build up, and get ready for the mid game.

01-27-2007, 07:15
Well Jammer I won't disagree with you it was a good post. I have just happened to been lucky - or maybe played on too low difficulty. Perhaps on H and VH campaigns the Turks are more aggressive.

My first play through I played a short campaign and decided to get Venice off my back first since they decided to attack me rather early into it. The Turks first offered trade, and then became allied to me. This first game was my first and I decided to take it easy, so I played on easy/medium. My next two games have been on Medium/Medium. During those games the Turks seemed stagnant barely conquering the rebels around them, they offer a trade agreement and then leave me alone.

I usually go for Sofia, Durazzo and Smyrna ASAP. I turn Corinth into a city, and then Durazzo into a castle. I use Durazzo for Vardariotai and march my way to Raguzza and then Venice. This is the point where I hope that I can get a breather and not have Milan and/or the HRE attack me. I haven't been lucky with that. Meanwhile I am being attacked by Sicily and now I just use my navy to offload from Raguzza to Naples, then take that army to Palermo and Sicily leaves me alone. The Turks leave me alone and I had to subdue Hungary once by taking Bucharest and Bran. Once my holdings in Italy begin to mount, I move my capital to Thessalonica. I am still playing my latest game, but I think you can successfully shift from the east to the West by concentrating on unifying Italy for the most part - I am still afraid of taking Rome. You can fortify the Alps and use Raguzza and Palermo for reinforcements.

Yes, I have tried to to use the Turks as a shield against the Mongols. I can't say I have been entirely successful on my second game as the Mongols appeared just as I was starting my campaign against the Turks, allied with them and decided that I had to go. It took me all I had to beat the Mongols back. That's also around the time I decided that free units for the Mongols was just too much of an advantage for them. They already have a very powerful army as is. So I gave them 50 florins for most basic units and 100 and 250 for the more advanced units. Quite frankly I don't think it had an effect. I thought that the horde would work just as in the expansion for RTW. But even when they settle they still don't pay any upkeep for that huge army it seemed.

I think the Byzantines can be very hard or very easy depending on your luck. If the Turks, Venetians and Hungarians decide to go to war with you early on, it will be a feat to get out of it. Then again if you can at least keep the Turks out of your hair it's not so bad.

I just think that they have an advantage over Western Armies myself with the Vardariotai. The Turks and Mongols match them rather well with their own HAs.

01-27-2007, 13:17
Playing with Regnum Dei Iron mod taking "homeland-provinces" from factions are much harder. As a consequence my playstyle has drastically changed. Now I ususally blitz all surrounding rebels then turtle and build up siege weapons (cats) then carefully choose my targets. All wars are well planned and equipped. Until I can meet theese requirements I just stay in my own lands depleting any invaders.

My first priorities are:
Army 1 (Alexis); takes Sofia, and Durazzo. Then moves towards Ragusa.
Army 2 (John); Smyrna and Rhodes. Then moves towards Iraklion.

*Send all priests to Crete for a total conversion, a couple of spies there will make this settlement revolt against the Venetians. Next preachertarget is Ragusa. I rather do this conquest the sneaky way since Venice is a really good tradepartner and my reputation won´t take a dive since I´m not an agressor. In RD Iron-mod the Hugarians has a stack outside Zagreb which means that the Venetians rarely takes this settlement. This in turn means that after I´ve instigated revolts in Iraklion and Ragusa they are left with Venice.
After, or simoultanesly, I sail John from Iraklion towards Trebizond and Caffa. This is my initial turtle-area. I only keep one castle: Ragusa, at this stage.

Next target: Turks. But that´s a completley different story.

Gray Beard
01-29-2007, 00:35
I should probably modify my post a bit.

I have gone back and been able to play where I take on the near by Catholics and win. As such, I think that maybe I'll modify it to show how to run your empire if you decide to conquer the East first. I feel that this the best strategy for the Byzantines because it gives the Venetians, Milanese, Sicilians HRE and Polish time to get to hate each other which seems to make them less likely to help each other.

There is something that rvg missed when he talks about how good the Vardariotai are; he is fighting his own battles and I am not. I let the computer fight the battles. I have a hard time doing that because of (Believe it or not) getting hit by a car in 1979 when I was 20. I have nerve damage down my arms which makes my fingers clumsy and slows down my reaction and thinking time. I have a Ph.D. but I am not a fast thinker and my numb hands make typing problematic and this games require fast thinking and a better command of the keyboard than I have. As a result, I have to spend too much time looking at the keyboard when I fight the battles. Real time battles move faster than I can comfortably give commands. I can do it but I don't enjoy it. Thus, I am letting the computer run my battles. My walk through is about how to win if you can't or don't want to fight your own battles. It makes a huge difference in how competent the Byzantine troops are if you let the computer control them. Also, I do not besiege cities, I take the walls. Vardariotai in particular and cavalry in general do not do that well.

My goal in playing the Byzantines is to stay out of a two or three front war and to be able to build up my economic level to afford the troops I need.. I find that if I take out the Venetians and Hungarians before going after the Turks then I end up simply replacing the Venetians and Hungarians with the Milanese and HRE not to mention the Polish and Sicilians. Then I have to deal with them as well as the Turks and the Egyptians. If I take out the Turks, before they can reach their good troops, and conquer everything down to Antioch, Aleppo, Edessa, Mosul, and Baghdad I can defend all of Asia Minor through Antioch and Aleppo. Because Adana and Caesarea are immediately behind these two it is very difficult for the Egyptians to break through and cause lots of problems. The Northern border can be defended against the Russians by Tbilisi and Zeveran.

Once the Egyptians attack I can normally force my way down to Alexandria and Cairo which effectively knocks them out of the game.

BTW- another advantages the the Byzantines have

Maintenance cost - The Dismounted Lancers and Byzantine Swordsmen are not quite as good as their Western counterparts. However they cost 100 gold per turn less to maintain. You can effectively have three of them for the cost of two Venetian heavy infantry units. This is a huge help because it allows you to have bulkier armies. Much as in MTW1 where the Byzantine swordsmen where a 100 strong unit rather than a 60 strong unit.

More militia units with free upkeep - The Byzantines also have more types of units that can garrison cities without a maintenance cost than other factions. The militia archers, for example can be quite useful and if you keep them in a city until you need them are free. This allows you to have better static defenses in cities

Here is what I consider to be a good, well rounded Byzantine army
1 x Family Member
4 x Spear Militia or Byzantine Spearmen
3 x Archer Militia or Trebizond Archers
3 x Shock Cavalry (Lancers, Latinkon or Kataphraxtoi, Frankish Knights, Armenian Cavalry)
5 x Heavy Infantry (Byzantine Swordmen, Dismounted Lancers or Dismounted Latinkons)
4 x Missie Cavalry or Light Cavalry (Vardariotai, Byzantine Cavalry, Skythewhatever, Turcomen Mercenaries, Merchant Cavalry)

Sometimes, I will replace the last group of cavalry with either Guard Archers or Infantry, or seige equipment.

01-29-2007, 14:26
Gray is absolutely correct about that. ALL cavalry sucks badly when it comes to using the auto-calculator. I think it has to do more with numbers, or perhaps yet another case where stats don't equate to battlefield performance. Any faction that fields armies heavy on cavalry will suffer when using the auto-calculator, unless those troops have massive amounts of experience. The experience is the reason the Mongols and Timurids seem to do so well when they arrive. All their battles are auto-calc'd.

02-08-2007, 00:35
I suspect the problem is that the auto-calc engine is probably just a copy of the RTW one and doesn't have code in it to deal with formed charges or the changed tower operation, (hence why towers have no effect in auto-calced sieges, they never count as activated), I also believe that Auto-calc is unaffected by the shield bug, and i know that both pikes and 2-Handers work without issue in it. The shield bug and Pike problems really overpower Cav in manual battles ATM.

2 Units of Italian Spear Militia vs. 3 units of Mailed Knights is a granted win with 50% losses (approx) for the Italian Spear Militia with working Shields. this is reflected in the auto-calc results nicely, this means that Cav actually perform in auto-calc as they should and your getting a lot of power boosts from bugs in ordinary battles which make Cav seem underpowered in auto-calc.

02-08-2007, 04:07
Wow I seem to play really different from everyone else. Ignore the turks, yes they'll declare war on you but their Horse Archers are useless at attacking settlements and I've always found it easy to defeat their armies and get a generous ceasefire. Main purpose is to keep them as a buffer against Mongols and Timurids. Immediately go for Venice, if you let them develop they'll become a power house and be able to field a strong navy (also their early game armies are pretty much infantry Can anyone say Varidotai:smash:) . After Venice Hungary is next. Attack from Venice, wait till he brings his army over and start attacking from constantinople. Once theyre gone your pretty much set. You have alot of rich cities and the perfect place to expand pretty much anywhere.

02-08-2007, 20:32
This might not be the place for it, but I found Byzantium extremely boring in the normal MTW2 format. I have generated a mod using the BigMap and several fixes from the Lands2Conquer mod including two handed fix and SuperAI.

The AI makes the Turks, Vencians, Hungarians and Russians much more difficult to manage. Also, most of BigMap province additions are in Eastern Europe & Asia Minor. There are several extra Greek cities, 3 extra on the Southern Italian Peninsula, 3 more in Annatolia and 5-6 in the far east of Russia/Georgia.

This drastically increases your choices for expansion into previous Byzantine strongholds and gives your neighbors extra opportunities for expansion & cash.

The basic BigMap mod is easy to DL and works pretty well on its own.

Currently, I have wiped out Venice, control all of Greece, Crimea, most of Asia Minor, every island in the eastern med & just established a foot hold in Italy in Bari and Brindisi. My position is relatively stable and I am considering whether to wipe out Hungary, or form a colony in Central Africa Tunis/Tripoli (6-7 new provinces) or the Holy Land.

02-08-2007, 22:18
This might not be the place for it, but I found Byzantium extremely boring in the normal MTW2 format. I have generated a mod using the BigMap and several fixes from the Lands2Conquer mod including two handed fix and SuperAI.

The AI makes the Turks, Vencians, Hungarians and Russians much more difficult to manage. Also, most of BigMap province additions are in Eastern Europe & Asia Minor. There are several extra Greek cities, 3 extra on the Southern Italian Peninsula, 3 more in Annatolia and 5-6 in the far east of Russia/Georgia.

This drastically increases your choices for expansion into previous Byzantine strongholds and gives your neighbors extra opportunities for expansion & cash.

The basic BigMap mod is easy to DL and works pretty well on its own.

Currently, I have wiped out Venice, control all of Greece, Crimea, most of Asia Minor, every island in the eastern med & just established a foot hold in Italy in Bari and Brindisi. My position is relatively stable and I am considering whether to wipe out Hungary, or form a colony in Central Africa Tunis/Tripoli (6-7 new provinces) or the Holy Land.
So the BM-mod actually has more provinces? Didn´t know that. Did a search to find map/ pics of it but didn´t find any. How many provinces does it contain aprox?

Gray Beard
02-09-2007, 06:18
One of the bugs with all the total war maps was that you effectively have an edge of the board. Other than the Mongols nothing comes from off the board.

This means that the Byzantines can capture the South-Eastern corner of the map and be in a very strong tactical position because they have no enemies from the East.

I wish the map went all the way to the Pacific. I don't see why this would be so hard to do. I mean if they can get the Aztecs into the game why not the Persians (Iranians) and Chinese and Indians? Then it would Be Medieval Total WORLD war

02-09-2007, 10:33
Gray Beard, I imagine that would be a daunting programming task. But I like the way you think. I'd buy that game.

Gray Beard
02-16-2007, 01:15
I'm not sure that this is the best advice for dealing with the Mogols. The Timirids are a different story but I've either won or lost by the time they come so they are not that big an issue

Unlike MTW i cannot get a huge army in Asia Minor that can simply wait for the Mongols to appear and then wipe them out.

In M2TW you are unable to do that.

Trick #1 Let them take a worthless city. What is a worthless city? One that only has walls. When you see where the Mongols are going destroy everything in the city that can be destroyed This will force the Mongols to garrison the city after the siege it with troops that they have to pay for. If possible don't build up the agriculture on Eastern cities. However, make them place the city under siege. Have a 20 unit stack of Spear Militia and Archer Militia on the walls If possible put a family member in the city that has 2 or 3 command stars. Let the Mongols sit outside your walls for 10 years. This gives them a base but it also gives you time. You can have a fast army that goes and sieges the city every time they leave. When they move back to break the siege you retreat.

Trick #2 Lead them on a merry chase. This works better if the Mongols show up near Tbilisi. Have an army of cheap fast cavalry. They don't have to be good but they have to be fast. If you have a family member with the forced march attribute that makes them faster put him in the army as well. Then move this army where the Mongols can see it and let them come after it. However, you need to place your army so that the Mongols have to expend most of their movement to reach you. When they attack refuse combat and retreat. Then move to the limit of their range again. By doing this You can sometimes get them chase you all the way to Sarkell At that point they are the Russians, and Polish factions' problem. This is hard to do but it can be done and is quite fun if you are also at war with the Polish or Hungarians.

Trick #3 Assassinate their leader. If you build a force of about 20 assassins and have them practice on easy targets like Catholic priest and Venetian merchants they are then able to kill the Mongol leader. When the Mongols appear they don't have much in the way of faction leaders. Kill the leaders and the Mongols become bandits albeit very powerful bandits. However, their behavior changes

02-17-2007, 17:50
I really like trick number 2. I usually just wait for them to spend themselves on the Turks and Egyptians as I conquer the catholics. If I play as the Byzantines again I will have to try conquering the Turks first and this trick. Sounds very interesting if you are able to pull it off.

Gray Beard
02-19-2007, 01:17
Sometimes you actually have to attack the Mogols with you cavalry to make trick #2 work. Attack then cancel the attack and back away. get them to follow you. Where it gets really tricky is getting two or three stacks of Mongols following you. You'll generally lose Tbilisi in this process but once they get farther North you can get it back. Especially of the Russians attack the Mongol stack

02-23-2007, 06:32
Forgive me but how do you make money with the Byzzies? Curently I'm in control of Trebizond Nicosia Smyrna,Corinth and Rhodes which are my main castles, I've also taken the fortress Bran from the Hungarians as they would use it as a base from invading me I also control Caesarea,Constanipole,
Thessaloníki,Smyrna,Iconium,Bucharest,Iasi,and currently have Caesarea under siege,but due to being at war with the Turks,Italians,and Hungarians at once I can't seem to make any decent money.I've tried to get a cease-fire with them but they refuse to listen to my diplomat,what are my best options?

02-23-2007, 13:54
Sounds like you have too many castles...

02-23-2007, 15:49
Definitely too many castles. In that circumstance, I'd keep Bran as a castle, Caesarea as a castle, and Trebizond as a castle. Convert the rest into cities. You might keep Corinth as a castle, that's up to you. Because of map changes, Corinth as a city doesn't make nearly as much money as Sparta did in RTW (the ports are located in the same place).

Gray Beard
02-24-2007, 09:23
I would only keep two castles. If you build those areas as cities you have tons of dough

02-25-2007, 13:23
Ok I'll do that.What's the best method of battling the mongols when they come? Fill up the cities they are going to hit with as many archers units as possible and hope I can stop their calvary before they batter down my gate??

02-26-2007, 11:50
Ok I'll do that.What's the best method of battling the mongols when they come? Fill up the cities they are going to hit with as many archers units as possible and hope I can stop their calvary before they batter down my gate??
Use chokepoints like passes, fords and ofcourse cities to wear them down. Its argous but the only part of M2 that provides a challenge. Regarding unit combo it depends what kind of player you are. I prefer mobility and choose HA´s. A mass assault with assassins is very useful to kill off their generals, without generals your chances of defeating their armies increases significantly.

Erik Bloodaxe
03-06-2007, 18:05
After playing 120 years with .5 timescale as the Byzantines, I realised how wonderful they really are! I think everyone should at some point try this faction! Like mentioned before, they got excellent troops and a fantastic central starting position, the Byz have a long history if you are interested too.. It's also easy to make big money (Middle-East area) so you can live with a high army-upkeep.

I have done well with only a few castles, one in Turkey, Greece and Hungary, two in the Middle-East so don't get too many!

The way I have done it is that I expanded east first, force Turkey to become your Vassal and Egypt after that.. If they want to;( In this campaign, there was no garrison in their last city Alexandria, I offered them Jerusalem and Gaza, map information, regular tribute on 1k for 20 turns!!:wall: All I wanted back was to protect and help them:furious3: (vassel) So after like 10 years of good will from the Emperor himself in Constantinople, I clicked on the city and executed the population. Poor guys. :sweatdrop:

Oh and by the way, when I’m playing the Byz with a touch of role-play, I really hate the HRE – which is neither Holy nor Roman.. Just a bunch of guys who.. Ok, I’ll stop=)

Erik Bloodaxe
03-06-2007, 18:13
Ops sorry, it's Vassal and timescale 1:dizzy2:

03-06-2007, 20:59
One of the things that made my Byzantine campaign run so smooth was the economy. The Holy Lands are great for that, especially since it seems the pope can't call a crusade on the Orthodox. Another benefit to the economy was that I didn't use many castles. The Byz fit into my playstyle perfectly as I pretty much use infantry as cannon fodder and I could get good units (well good for the Byz anyway) out of city militia barracks. Typical battles/sieges saw me losing 50% of my infantry but only 5-10% of my Cavalry and Archers. Therefore I could easily just replenish the infantry at the cities I just took and didn't have to drag piles of other forces back to retrain, or build castles everywhere.

03-06-2007, 22:18

Do you still get those nice relics as Bizzy? From looking at the files I'm not clear if they are all generic, or if they are tied to religion.

03-06-2007, 23:23
Sadly after talking over all of the Holy Lands the only relic I got was from Jerusalem and eventually I forgot to transfer the thing before the general that got it died.

03-06-2007, 23:49
Sadly after talking over all of the Holy Lands the only relic I got was from Jerusalem and eventually I forgot to transfer the thing before the general that got it died.

Ah, but it is possible for Orthodox to get them then. Good. I've only seen one to date too, but I tend to start on the Atlantic and usually restart before more than one crusade.

Gray Beard
03-08-2007, 09:54
The relics appear to be really hard to get. You should remember that it was the Byzantines who were manufacturing a lot of those relics and then selling them to crusaders.

03-15-2007, 01:00
Grey Beard,

Since it's later in the game, I find that I usually have a large number of veterans of all classes, especially in the east, so I try to concentrate as many of them as I can in the Tbilisi-Trezibond regions. I build forts at the mountain passes and rivers in areas where I can limit the Mongol number of reinforcements while maximizing mine. There are a few good locations of that sort in that area. If they are spaced close enough together, units from one fortress can reinforce the other within one-two turns. I try to have one mobile force that is an entire full stack of cavalry which I usually base just north of Tbilisi.

Using this tactic, I have watched the Mongols approach from the Sarkel region in two different games, only to see them turn around when they saw the defenses, and move towards Kiev instead. Because of that I also make it a point to make sure I possess at least one seaport in the Dacia area and a fleet at Trezibond so that I can transfer troops back and forth efficiently between both areas. In the games I've played, the Mongols have taken both routes, so having a fleet nearby somewhat eases the worry of where to distribute the heaviest lines of defense.

Maintaining a large force in the region can be relatively expensive, but one can develop the Byzantine Empire into an economic powerhouse quickly enough with the proper building investments and profit-minded territorial expansion. The merchants are very useful too, so money hasn't been the biggest issue in the games I've played.

It was handy advice you provided. Thanks and cheers.

03-18-2007, 05:54
My greatest problem is unloyal allies.I negoiated a alliance with Venice and Hungary eary in the game after taking Durazzo from the Italians,in return for 100 tribute over 15 turns and the same for the Hungarians,while I dealt with the turks.Just as I was finishing them off the mongols arrived,so I turned my attention to dealing with them,then Italy lands a 180 men army on rhodes against my 500 man garrison,and hungary attempts to take both Constantinople,and Thessalonika with fair-size armies,even though I have reinforcements that can reinforce both cities easily.I defeated the attempted invasions but now both of them are naval blockading everything in sight and seem to regard ceasefires as demanding for some reason...

03-18-2007, 17:06
My greatest problem is unloyal allies.I negoiated a alliance with Venice and Hungary eary in the game after taking Durazzo from the Italians,in return for 100 tribute over 15 turns and the same for the Hungarians,while I dealt with the turks.Just as I was finishing them off the mongols arrived,so I turned my attention to dealing with them,then Italy lands a 180 men army on rhodes against my 500 man garrison,and hungary attempts to take both Constantinople,and Thessalonika with fair-size armies,even though I have reinforcements that can reinforce both cities easily.I defeated the attempted invasions but now both of them are naval blockading everything in sight and seem to regard ceasefires as demanding for some reason...

It's something every faction has to deal with, Byzantium has 3 things which increase the liklihood of such invasions. 1, it's Orthodox Christian, therefore fair game for every other faction 2, geography, it sits between the eastern frontiers of Latin christendom and the western frontiers of the Islamic territories in the east 3, it's cities are wealthy and many dominate important strategic locations.

Your also on the road to the holyland so crusades are going to march through your territories, Byzantium location is both an advantage and disadvantage.

03-19-2007, 05:55
yeah it'd be nice but if the AI repected being allied and didn't drop it at the drop of a hat but.It's annoying,sometimes..

03-19-2007, 18:24
Byzantium is one of my favorite factions in the entire game (behind, of course, HRE). I just wish the Orthodox factions had a Pope-like figure in the person of the Patriarch, but oh well.
One thing I have noticed in my numerous campaigns as Byzantium is that capturing Durazzo almost ALWAYS leads to war with Venice. I find it to be an excellent strategy to avoid taking Durazzo and avoid conflict with most of the European powers. I tend to concentrate on mopping up Rebels (I love sending expeditions north across the Black Sea and capturing the Crimea) and, when war for expansion becomes inevitable, attacking the Muslims.

03-19-2007, 20:13
Durazzo is such a dump anyway it's easy to avoid taking it. I never take it unless I already have Ragusa. If you don't have Zagreb pretty much all of Venice's attacks come for Ragusa so you can keep an under-teched Durazzo safe by fighting at a developed castle instead of a cheezy wooden wall. Once I got Ragusa taking Italy was a snap. As I posted somewhere else, when advancing I lose a ton of infantry but keep my cavalry and archers pretty safe. Italy has developed barracks everywhere so I can replace infantry losses quickly and not rely on shipping units back and forth from Ragusa. Once in Italy the higher base conversion% of Orthodox churches coupled with the Ikoner's Studio means I can move priests ahead to the next target while the one I just took gets a steady conversion. Throw in a few spies and blow up some buildings and you can cause any city in Italy to rebel eventually since only one or 2 seem to have spies in their own cities. Works great if you're just at war with Venice and don't want to get into it with Milan, HRE, or the Papacy but still want to expand. If you're in Italy you may be close to the 45 province limit, but if not make sure it's a priority to take a city on the west coast you have a port there so you don't have to sail around Naples.

03-24-2007, 10:18
Seems challenging and interesting- ill try them.

BTW Gray Beard- Great post (the really long one)

03-26-2007, 17:23
I would only keep two castles. If you build those areas as cities you have tons of dough

Ive done that- ive kept Sofia as a castle while fighting Venice, Hungary and Poland AT THE SAME TIME! Ive also kept Adana (i think thats the name the one above antioch) as a castle whilst fighting the Turks. I must admit in RTW the Brutii were swimming in gold in Greece but now its not so rich. I have Asia Minor up to Trezibod (sp?) and Adana and as North as Bran and as West as Durazzo but none of the islands to the south on turn 25. I get just 5000 surplus a turn for recruitment and contruction (Constantinople has been waiting to upgrade for ages). Its not enough. I have enough troops though; there are a stunning 3 full stacks seiging various cities and 3 half ones and about 7 little ones mainly coming from my inner cities to the battle zones on the outside. I now have 14 provinces. Its incredibly hard actually, the finances are a lot worse than in Russia as Hungary (and thats said to be bad) and im just fighting on sheer military power. I think i need to half upkeep rates for every unit.

03-26-2007, 21:08
In vanilla RTW, you had Thermon, Corinth, Sparta, Athens, Larissa, Thessalonica, and Byzantium, just on the western side of the Aegean, with Pergamun, Sardis, and Halicarnassus on the eastern side, as well as Rhodes and Kydonia on islands. In M2TW, the western side only has Constantinople, Thessalonica and Corinth. The eastern side only has Nicosia and Smyrna, with Rhodes and Iraklion on islands. The trade is much lower as a result.

03-27-2007, 08:53
OK thankyou

03-27-2007, 15:14
I will post my campaign with Byzantium soon.

But I got a maybe odd question as player of the 'old' MTW. WTF are our nafta guys??? They where so funny. Why are they not on Byzantium side?

03-27-2007, 22:30
I have to say this is one of the most fun factions to play as in the game. I don't know if it is the purple or what, but the way they play, it reminds me of a parthia campaign in RTW. Great horse archers and heavy cav. and so-so to decent foot soldiers. :2thumbsup:

Count Zero
04-16-2007, 23:54
I have had more fun in this campaign than any others (including RTW campaigns). Initially, I expanded West and left the Turks as a buffer against Egypt and the impending arrival of the Mongols, but the Egyptians were slow and the Mongols, when they did show up, headed West to Kiev instead of South through Tblisi.

Anyway I have endured a Jihad called against my Capital, have had Crusaders marching up and down my territory, and the Mongols stomping all over the homeland. Together with flood, earthquake and plague it has been a very eventful campaign indeed.

Strategically it is unlike other campaigns where you might just expand or consolidate, with Byzantium you have to be prepared to take a backward step now and again. As far as expanding goes then the player must be prepared to be patient, incremental and opportunistic.

Gray Beard
04-17-2007, 01:46
I think the Byzantine Heavy cavalry are way to hard to reach.

I mainly use infantry and siege equipment. The only heavy cavalry I can generally get are Mercenary Frankish Knights and Armenian and Alan Cavalry

04-17-2007, 15:12
IMO, the Byzantine heavy cavalry are almost completely unnecessary. I went the bulk of my campaign with the Empire using no heavy cavalry apart from general's bodyguards. Mass quantities of horse archers, properly used=victory. That's where the strength of this faction lies.

I'm certain you can use the knight types effectively, if you want to play things that way, but the horse archers are easier to get and amazingly effective.

Remember: "If one unit is good, fifty has got to be better."

04-18-2007, 22:46
Well, having put a few hours into the Bizzy campaign with the 1.2 leaked patch, I can tell you that things are now different. We can have peace in our time.

On M/M, I married into the Hungarian royal family and the Turks accepted an alliance agreement before they ever declared war. What's amazing is, so far, both have been iron clad.

Alliances work better, now. Venice leapt at the opportunity to make an alliance with me, and when they did, they signed a peace treaty with Hungary. I suspect this would have held, too, had they not been at war already. They later attacked the Hungarians, and I was given a choice which to back, and that’s NEVER happened to me before, probably because alliances have never lasted long enough. Eventually, Venice did start a war with me by blockading a port, but only after I opted out of our agreement.

The Turks have behaved rather honorably. I use watchtowers and spies to keep a close eye on them. So far, they’ve packed one of their more useless family members off to a fort near my border with a couple of militia units, and left him there. They have been picking off rebel settlements, but aside from a diplomat, having trespassed at all. I’m hoping that this will last until the Mongols arrive and that they finish each other off.

With three secure flanks, I have a lot of freedom to expand. I’m preparing a force to attack Venice, and have set down a full stack in Egypt. The empty desert is ideal horse archer land. I’ve claimed the Nile, and am going to fortify my position, and expand West over Africa. I might push East as well, and when the Mongols start to arrive, I’ll gift the closest city to the Pope, and let the Catholics and Turks worry about it.

04-26-2007, 10:47
I will post my campaign with Byzantium soon.

But I got a maybe odd question as player of the 'old' MTW. WTF are our nafta guys??? They where so funny. Why are they not on Byzantium side?

Napatha Throwers?

The dudes who threw clay oil grenades?

lol yea they were funny, usually hitting their own guys. But when they worked well, they could turn a losing battle into a winning one

04-26-2007, 14:39
Napatha Throwers?

The dudes who threw clay oil grenades?

lol yea they were funny, usually hitting their own guys. But when they worked well, they could turn a losing battle into a winning one

Back where they belong - in the armies of Allah!

Gray Beard
05-02-2007, 07:18
Sorry Moah, the Naphtha was invented by the Byzantines.

That's why it was called "Greek Fire" They had it for a couple of hundred years before there were any army's of Allah

05-07-2007, 02:02
Alright it seems like everyone here follows what the game recommends in its little one sentence summary of each faction, which I think is retarded. I personally hate the Byzantine (east roman for you nerds haha) cavalry archers; it doesn't seem like they pack the punch of Hungarian or Polish Nobles. Therefore, in my last Byzantine campaign, I made very western european type armies with large infantry formations, and WOW do byzantine troops rule. It's weird, b/c everyone on here is all about cavalry archers for the Byz, yet I had multiple field armies of byzantine lancers (dismounted and mounted), latinkons, byz infantry, varangian guard, byz spearmen (upgraded of course) and I was wading through oceans of Hungarian, German, and Polish blood. As a matter of fact, I made it all the way up to Arhus, but got bored and did something productive outside lol. Idk, that just goes to show that Byz infantry is NASTY, and is capable of brutalizing any faction as long as you play it right.

05-07-2007, 15:23
Puppetmaster, that's good to hear. One reason I haven't tried the Byz in 2 is because everyone says they are such the Horse Archer faction now. I'm far more of an infantry guy. Horses are just so I know who my general is. :P

If the Byz can make a go of it as an infantry nation, I'll have to give them a go next run.

The other reason I haven't given them a go is they are far too close to where the Mongols and Timurids live. Those people give me nightmares. Though I don't know how they might be changed now that 1.2 is in...

05-08-2007, 06:07
Puppetmaster, that's good to hear. One reason I haven't tried the Byz in 2 is because everyone says they are such the Horse Archer faction now. I'm far more of an infantry guy. Horses are just so I know who my general is. :P

If the Byz can make a go of it as an infantry nation, I'll have to give them a go next run.

The other reason I haven't given them a go is they are far too close to where the Mongols and Timurids live. Those people give me nightmares. Though I don't know how they might be changed now that 1.2 is in...

haha yeah man i see your point in avoiding the timurids, i basically lost 10 full stack armies to them on H/H in my holy roman empire campaign, and yeah i'm kind of pissed seeing as how my competent forces of veteran gothic and imperial knights were decimated before my eyes. elephants with cannons on their backs? can we be remotely realistic here? haha

Gray Beard
05-09-2007, 03:56
Byzantium Troops – By the numbers in 1.2

Spear Units
The Byzantines have only three spear units. It is perhaps their biggest weakness in their force pool. They could really use a pike or halberd unit or an actual armored Spearman. All of these units have exactly the same stats. The only difference is the number of times they can receive armor upgrades or form special formations. The only saving grace common to Byzantine spear units is that are cheap to build and cheap to maintain

Town Militia
These are the first unit a city can build. They do nothing well except die and keep public order but given the limited options the Byzantines have for this type of troop you are probably going to have to use them on a regular basis so get an armor up grade if possible. Their one good point is that they are miles better than peasants and work much better as a garrison. They can receive one armor upgrade. They are free to maintain in a city. They are built in a city

Spear Militia
These along with Archer Militia will will probably be the most common unit in Byzantine armies. They are weaker than comparable Italian troops in almost every way. They have only three strong points. 1. They are free to maintain in a garrison 2. They have an outstanding defense bonus against cavalry. The come in groups of 75 rather than 60 which means that they are 25% better than the town militia through sheer numbers. It is important to get these troops an armor upgrade. Built in a city

Byzantine Spearmen
Identical to Militia Spearmen in all respects EXCEPT for being able to form a schiltrom or defensive circle, they have an additional armor upgrade, do NOT receive the free upkeep in a city and cost more in upkeep. I try to not use these the defensive ring is useless if they are protecting archers. For most of the things you need a spearman for the Spear Militia perform as well and cost less. There is one exception. If you are using the Spearmen as assault infantry. Have the first unit of Byzantine spearmen engage an enemy and form the defensive ring so they can't be flanked. Then have another unit of Byzantine Spearmen charge into the enemy. It waste a lot of men but it works. They come in groups of 75. Built in a castle

Missile Units
The Byzantine do not have access to a crossbow unit in their force pool. But two of their elite archer units are rather fearsome

Peasant Archers
Identical to other peasant archers. They do require upkeep when used as garrisons

Archer Militia
These are basic unarmored archers. They are fairly easy to reach. They do not pay upkeep when garrisoning. They can receive one armor upgrade. The have a good skill rating and are as good or better than most of the archers they will face. These are a very useful archer unit because you can build bunches of them and keep them for free in a city, castle or fort and them march them out when needed. They have much better armor than the peasant archer unit. (3 vs. 1) They come in groups of 60. They are built in a city

Trebizond Archers
These are a good upgrade from the Archer Militia in some ways but not in others. They have a longer range, they have better moral, better armor and a better secondary weapon and fighting ability. They are probably better than most of the non-crossbow units they might face. Once they run out of arrows they can make good units to chase down routing units and are able defend themselves against infantry that break through your spear wall which is good since the Byzantine spears are rather weak. They must pay up keep so only build them for an Army you are planing to use. They are also easy to reach. They come groups of 60 and are built in castles

***** Because they have a higher moral, longer range and better armor and attack Trebizond archers can murder most of the cheaper Horse Archer units********

Guard Archers
These have the longer range, they are better armored than most infantry They can fight almost as well or better than many infantry units and have a good moral. They are expensive cost a lot to maintain but are fairly easy to reach for a unit of this quality. Nasty unit. In some ways they are best unit in the Byzantine force pool because they are so versatile. They can often times sweep the field; especially if they are trying to reduce the numbers of poorly armored cavalry or infantry.

Byzantine Infantry Units
The Byzantine infantry units are generally capable if not exceptional. However, while more limited in types than other factions all the Byzantine infantry units generally have these strong points in common. 1. They are fairly well armored 2. They have low maintenance cost when compared to similar units in other armies. 3. They are fairly easy to reach 4. None of them are eligible for free upkeep if they are a garrison.

Just like everybody else's peasants. They can be used to garrison. You must pay upkeep and they die like flies even from behind walls. Avoid them if you can and use the Town Militia instead. They come groups of 60 and are built at a castle.

Byzantine Infantry
Compared to Dismounted Men at Arms or Broken Lances these are not quite as good. However, they cost 100 gold per turn less in upkeep. These can be reached at the beginning of the game by upgrading the Drill Square in Constantinople twice. They can receive two armor upgrades. They are built in a city.

Dismounted Byzantine Lancers
Exactly the same stats as Byzantine Infantry except they can receive 4 armor upgrades and they cost a bit more to maintain. That is significant but they are also effectively much more difficult to reach because you have to upgrade the castle at Corinth at least once plus upgrading the barracks three times to be able to reach them. Since the Cavalry and archer units are also built at a castle you're probably going to have more important upgrades at your castle settlements. I find that I tend to get these from castles I've captured. The four upgrades is important if you can get it because that makes them almost as good as the Latinkon's with a considerably lower maintenance cost. There are 60 in a group and they are built at castles

Dismounted Latinkon
These seem to be actually easier to reach than the Varangian guard units in practice. But that may not be the actual case. They have an excellent attack, are very well armored an above average moral and can receive two armor upgrades. These can slice and dice their way through most spear units with ease. If you can get them to attack from a flank they route almost anything. They come in groups of 60 and are built at castles

Varangian Guard
A massive armor piercing attack, fairly good armor, through the roof moral and cheaper to build and maintain than almost any other comparable units. Their only weakness is their lack of shields while fighting which lowers their armor class a bit. However, they'll kill most other units before this becomes a problem. This unit along with the Guard Archers almost single handedly makes up for all the other holes in the Byzantine force pool. They are difficult to reach, Constantinople has to have the 10,000 gold wall built and then you can built the drill square needed. However, it is worth the effort to reach these. They come groups of 60 and are built in a CITY

Byzantine Cavalry
Byzantine Cavalry is a difficult to use because most of it is missile cavalry. The AI is better at using it than in the pre-1.2 game but still not very competent. However, if you fight your own battles the Skythikon and Vardariotai can fearsome units. The lower level Byzantine cavalry units all have poor moral which

Greek Militia Cavalry
This is the only cavalry that be built in a city but you must have a merchant's guild. They have respectable stats except for a low moral which makes them unreliable. The pay no upkeep in a garrison.

Skythikon and Cuman Horse Archers
The basic unarmored horse archer. The only difference is that the Cuman's cost a little more in upkeep and can only be purchased as mercenaries but the Skythikon are available from any castle. Their saving grace is that because they are so easily available they are often the first archer unit that the Byzantines have available. One of the ways I've used this unit is to set them up in FRONT of a Town Militia unit making sure that both out of range of enemy archers. I then shoot arrows at an opposing unit and get them to charge the Skythikon who then beat a hasty retreat behind the militia. who are better able to absorb the charge of the now (hopefully) depleted attackers. The Skythikon then setup as archers behind the militia and continue shooting arrows. It's not a great strategy but it's the best I can do with these troops. Both Skythikon can Cumans have poor moral

Byzantine Cavalry
Almost a hybrid unit in that they are neither a true horse archer or a true sword wielding light cavalry. They also suffer from abysmal moral. They do have good armor stats They come in groups of 40 and are available in the basic castle

Byzantine Lancers
This is the first true lance equipped shock cavalry that you can reach. They are fairly easy to reach have adequate moral and are somewhat comparable to “Mailed Knights.” They are also inexpensively maintained. The big thing about these guys is that they can receive four (4)!!!!!! worth of armor upgrades. If you can get them maxed out on the upgrades they go from being a mediocre unit to being a fairly decent one

Alan Light Cavalry
A mercenary unit, available exclusively to the Byzantines throughout the Near East but not the Balkins that is some what equivalent to the Lancers. They have an armor piercing secondary attack and a reasonable upkeep cost. They can have one armor upgrade and come in groups of 40

These are basically equivalent to Broken lances but are much cheaper to maintain and have better armor. A standard heavy cavalry unit. There are some better but these are certainly good enough. They are difficult to reach but their low upkeep makes them a very attractive option

Better armored than Latinkons with an Armor piercing secondary attack. They have two armor upgrades and a good moral. These do not appear to be quite as distinct a unit as they were in MTW but still a nice cavalry unit. I'm not sure they worth the effort to reach them however, because they don't appear to off that many advantages over the Latinkons

The first heavy Cavalry the Byzantine faction has available. This is the cavalry equivalent of the Guard Archer or what the Byzantine Cavalry aspire to be. They have a good secondary attack, they are well armored, they are cheap to maintain and the cost a bunch to buy. If you can get them upgraded and some experience they can be very good unit if you figure out how to use missile cavalry

Greek Body Guard
equivalent to other factions body guards but they don't improve over the course of the game to a “Late Version” however, the standard version is still a good unit

Gray Beard
05-09-2007, 03:59
Puppet Master,

I seldom use the horse archers. Indeed, the only reason I use any of the horse archers at all is because I find the Byzantine cavalry to be way to hard to reach.

The Byzantine Infantry actually has some very good features that I talk about above. Namely the upkeep cost is sometimes as much a 1/2 similar units in factions list.

05-11-2007, 19:26
Personally, I never use Byzantine Cavalry opting instead for the almighty Vardariotai(when available) or Scythikons. The reason is because Byz Cav lacks the "Fast Moving" attribute, which imho is the most important one for cavalry archers. Vardariotai of course are worth their weight in gold twice over.

05-11-2007, 22:48
Yes, their worst, the lack of speed. It broke my nerves when opposite horse archers kill a half of my army.

05-17-2007, 04:41
The Varangian Guard units were pretty beastly with the sword mod fix in 1.1. How has the 1.2 treated them? They just as good, better, or worse?

Gray Beard
05-17-2007, 06:27
I think the Varangian guard are now the best unit in the game when you take their low upkeep cost into consideration. Also you don't lose them late.

As an interesting note. Warren Treadgold in his book "Byzantium and its Army: 284 - 1081" ISBN 08047831632 seems to indicate that at least some of the Varangian Guard were heavy Cavalry.

As he is one of the best know Byzantine scholars around it makes me wonder if there shouldn't be a Varangian cavalry unit.

He also list an actual manifest or summary of the troops in a normal Byzantine army. You couldn't build that army using this game.

05-17-2007, 14:34
The Varangian Guard units were pretty beastly with the sword mod fix in 1.1. How has the 1.2 treated them? They just as good, better, or worse?

I love these guys now... They are usually charged with the task of chopping enemy heavy horse into steaks, and they do a damn fine job.

05-25-2007, 12:51
I started a byzintine campaign after I finished my HRE campaign to unlock the factions. I'm playing 1.2 official patch. My experiance is that archery is your best friend with them. I've had groups of 4-6 byz. cav. with maybe 1-2 vards mixed in kill enemy infantry like it was going out of style. I've had battles where I've killed 2000 and lost 150 or so, with pure HA armies.

Also I've tested in custom battle a guard archer can beat DFK 1vs1. They can thin them out good enough where they can kill them with swords afterwards. Treb. archers murder enemy infantry and HA's. The thing that you have to get your head around after playing western factions is your starting infantry thats basicly is ONLY spear militia from cities and byz. spearmen from castles can't stand up to western troops such as the armoured spearmen of all types and dismounted knights. While byz. infantry are fairly good they don't come until later.

Killing archers and xbows are fairly easy with all HA armies especially if you use the higher grade ones like byz. cav. or vards. All you have to do is lure out the infantry with a few then charge the archers with flanking units. All the while your HA will be raining death even while on the move! Early on Hungry is your worst foe because they have good HA aswell. What I end up doing is either send some byz. cav or vards to attack in melee and chase them down while exchanging missile fire. That way I can kill the infantry with the rest of my army with out that annoyance.

Just to give you an Idea I have 4 vards I got from my first mission reward with 2 gold cheverons just after prince John then king died. You should see the carnage that 8 units of trez archers and HA can lay down to infantry armies. In one instance I widdled down a 800 or so man army down to ~100 men before they hit my byz. spear/sword line. That was with 8 trebs and 4 vards with a general.

In my battles you really get the whole "fight in the shade" experinance! :2thumbsup: :laugh4:

06-05-2007, 14:07
Whoever said that peace with hungary and Russia is possible in our lifetime,don't you believe it.In my game which I continued when the 1.2 patch game out we are enaged in a war of attrition in which large Ha armies of mine intercept their armies en-route to sieging my cities and destroy them,but I did take sofia,which is a citadel from them,so how maybe I'll get some respite.They where allied with the egyptians when they finally wore out my patience with port blockade 1.01 and I destroyed them but I thought they'd have made peace after the egyptians died,and since I've offered them peace for 5,000+ with no luck,so I may have to kill them off..

Rebellious Waffle
06-07-2007, 00:34
I have a Crazy Idea. (Haven't tried it yet, but it popped into my head when I got a load of Timurid elephants.)

Rampaging barbarians are not my idea of a good time. That and the porous borders are the only reasons why I don't find the Byzantines ideal for campaign purposes. Let someone else deal with smelly nomads from off the steppe, I want to shoot fish in a barrel!

Supposing you invaded Spain.

Take the whole Byzantine Empire, put it on a tractor-trailer and go island hopping. Sweep up Rhodes, Crete, Corsica, Sardinia and possibly Sicily on the way if you have a strange sense of humor. The Turks, Venetians and Hungarians will probably carve up your old provinces while you're away; wish them well. Your eye is on the prize, and the prize is Grenada.

Think about it this way -- the blokes who are best suited to stop Byzantine horse archers are your neighbors at the start of the game: Russia, Poland, Hungary, Turkey, Egypt. The blokes in Western Europe mostly won't get missile cavalry until the Late period, which means you've got the only horse archers within hundreds of miles. Western armies are terrible at ranged combat. Playing Byzantium in Spain means looking at your neighbors and thinking, "that guy would look great with a piece of wood sticking out of his forehead". The Iberian Peninsula is defended by the Andes, which lets you mop up the Spanish, Portugese and Moors in peace and quiet. Walk your way back East. What're they gonna do, excommunicate you?

06-07-2007, 16:54
I have a Crazy Idea. (Haven't tried it yet, but it popped into my head when I got a load of Timurid elephants.)

Rampaging barbarians are not my idea of a good time. That and the porous borders are the only reasons why I don't find the Byzantines ideal for campaign purposes. Let someone else deal with smelly nomads from off the steppe, I want to shoot fish in a barrel!

Supposing you invaded Spain.

Take the whole Byzantine Empire, put it on a tractor-trailer and go island hopping. Sweep up Rhodes, Crete, Corsica, Sardinia and possibly Sicily on the way if you have a strange sense of humor. The Turks, Venetians and Hungarians will probably carve up your old provinces while you're away; wish them well. Your eye is on the prize, and the prize is Grenada.

Think about it this way -- the blokes who are best suited to stop Byzantine horse archers are your neighbors at the start of the game: Russia, Poland, Hungary, Turkey, Egypt. The blokes in Western Europe mostly won't get missile cavalry until the Late period, which means you've got the only horse archers within hundreds of miles. Western armies are terrible at ranged combat. Playing Byzantium in Spain means looking at your neighbors and thinking, "that guy would look great with a piece of wood sticking out of his forehead". The Iberian Peninsula is defended by the Andes, which lets you mop up the Spanish, Portugese and Moors in peace and quiet. Walk your way back East. What're they gonna do, excommunicate you?

Too much work imho. It's easier to just conquer the the lands surrounding your starting area. Besides, Constantinople is far too important to leave to the vultures. Before the arrival of gunpowder the Byzantines are unstoppable no matter who they are fighting against.

Rebellious Waffle
06-07-2007, 17:26
It seems like there's two things we can do along those lines.

1) Snag Rhodes, Crete, Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, Tunis and Tarentum as a prelude to taking all the cities on the Northwestern coast of the Mediterranean Sea, then snag Spain and West Africa along the way. Walk your way East, until you press the enemy against the Italian peninsula if you've managed to sweep it up. Once you've got France and Normandy under your thumb you can send an invasion fleet across the Channel if you like, but it might be better to swarm in and snag the Holy Roman Empire's provinces. Make everyone else into the Russians' problem.

2) Take Turkey and use it as a base for massive invasion of the Russian steppe. Once you've secured the old Russian border with Poland and Hungary, drive North from the Balkans and West from the steppe, shunting the enemy into Holy Roman Empire territory. The trick will be keeping the pressure up long enough to consolidate both assault forces for a massed attack on France, then plug up the Alps and Andes in preparation for throwing your army at the British Isles. If the Mongols and Timurids carve chunks out of your eastern holdings, you can afford to take the hit until you consolidate in the West and reconquer the places you lost along the way.

Maybe it's just a pipe dream, but something tickles me about it because it's so incongruous.

Rebellious Waffle
06-08-2007, 22:09
A second Crazy Idea came up, and it's working rather well:

1. Snag all of Asia Minor from the Turks.
2. Snag Hungary, Venice, Egypt, the Levant and Sicily's starting provinces. (Tricky)
3. Donate all of Egypt, the Holy Land, Arabia (i.e. Bagdhad, the provinces just East of Antioch, Jerusalem and Aleppo) and possibly bits of Africa to the Papal states in exchange for Rome. Send an invasion fleet West along the African coast, conquering cities and donating them to the Papal States until you reach Tunis. Keep Tunis to yourself. The idea is to make the Papal States a military and economic powerhouse in the East, while getting onto the Pope's good side in a big way.
4. Become the Pope's ally with full military access, and send him presents regularly.

This may look like a completely goofy strategy, and it is. The idea has a few advantages:

1. You get Rome without the threat of crusades being called against you, which is a biggie. That allows you to mop up the entire Italian peninsula and use it as a base to sweep in and conquer the Western Empire.
2. You wipe out two of the three Jihad-calling factions and make it pretty much impossible for anyone to crusade against you, removing two of the most annoying threats to Byzantine power.
3. The Pope is a good neighbor. Never attacks anybody. You can make his Empire as big as you want and no bigger -- it's like cultivating a giant rock garden. You still get the economic benefits of trade with the Levant, and there's plenty of room to expand in the West anyway.
4. When the barbarian hordes come calling, guess whose doorstep they'll land on? The Pope has authority to call crusades on the Mongols and Timurids, which goes a ways towards neutering the barbarians and periodically strips your neighbors of soldiers at the same time!
5. The Holy Land is a high-profile target that's hard to defend and it's not even part of your winning conditions. Rome, however, is. And it's much more convenient to have, because your opponents have to tear through Northern Italy to threaten it at all, and you'll have Italy wrapped up like a Christmas present from your invasions.
6. It's just plain wacky. There's something to be said for careening through history like a bull in a china shop. aye?

06-21-2007, 14:58
I'm playing this faction now. (I have always played Catholic or Moorsish factions)

I followed some of Reb Waffle's advice except there is one problem.

The Pope cannot trade Rome. It is his capital.

At least I can't figure out how to trade it from him.

What I've done is as follows:

Allied with Hungary.
Allied with Pope.
Give them both money to keep them at least Amicable.

I blitzed west to Zagred taking Sofia and Albania (Whatever it is, minor province) on the way.

I also blitzed North and around the Black Sea stopping at Sarkel (Stalingrad?) I missed the castle north of Bucharest, Poland got it, but got Kiev. Poland then offered an alliance. I had to break it a few turns later when Hungary attacked Poland (they were boxed in so they went north :) )

I also sent my prince south to take Rhodes and the castle in the way. Then sent him to whack the Turks. Surprisingly I killed them off after taking thier capital which was mostly empty. :oops: I then had to hurry and take most of Turkey and Antioch before Egypt got there. I wanted the Turks to be around to buffer the Mongols.:whip:

Before I took Antioch the pope called a crusade agaisnt Antioch. (I'm not sure if Egypt owned it or not.) Poland came down and took it. Then they left to try and take (Jerusalem?) something south and Antioch rebeled. So I took Antioch. I took Edessa and gave a couple of provices to the Pope.

It is now turn 60. I have my defensive line drawn north to south at Trezbond, Ceasarea, and Antioch. The Ventians would NOT leave me alone by attacking Rhodes with 3-4 armies. So I took Ragusa and Iraklion from them leaving Venice with Venice only. Venice was actually kind of easy as I had hordes of Cav Archers skirmishing and firing. Venice wasn't equiped to handle Cav Archers.

My only borders I need to worry about is East from the Mongols and North from Hungary. (Egypt and the Pope are fighting and the Pope is holding them off nicely. :)
I'm now allied with Hungary, Egypt and the Pope. The relations with the Pope are Outstanding (Just as Reb Waffle hinted at) which is where I want them.

Much of Eastern Turkey and Iraq are in Rebel hands. I'm hoping the Mongols take one of those and then break up a bit so I can take thier initial uber-stacks one at a time.

Hungary has been fantastic as a neighbor. They went after Poland and HRE. HRE is about toast and Poland and Hungary are in a stalemate. The Catholics are all fighting amongst themselves (Milan vs Venice and Sicily, France vs Portugal and Spain, England vs Denmark and Scotland, Hungary vs HRE and Poland) Haven't heard boo out of the Moors or Russia except a trade deal with Russia. The Pope now has at least 3 provinces in the Holy Land area. Egypt is pinned in at Acre and Jerusalem (They got a small stack headed for Bagdad/Mosul)

Should be interesting. I'm really quite inexperienced fighing Mongrels so I hope I do ok.

Rebellious Waffle
06-22-2007, 14:39
The trick to getting him to trade Rome is to give him a few Middle Eastern provinces first -- the computer uses some manner of unrest-minimization algorithm to find out where its capitol should be, and if you give the Pope a lot of Levantine provinces he'll move his capitol over there. Once that's done, you need to rack up Egyptian provinces to complete the trade for Rome.

Another campaign model for Byzantium I'm using is to pick up stakes and move the whole bidness to Spain. By turn 35 I've got the whole Iberian peninsula, North Africa, and the two French provinces East of the Pyrenees, with designs on interior France and Rennes. Constantinople, Nicaea, Nicosia, Corinth and Thessalonica are now the Pope's problem, and I hope he has fun with the Turks.

06-22-2007, 15:04
Correct me if I am wrong but I believe that you need 45 provinces with Rome AND Jerusalem to win. So don't forget about Jerusalem. Personally in all other campaigns I usually leave it till the end because of all the problems associated with that restless province.

I actually had to restart my campaign :P The power went out and my save got corrupted. I was only 63 turns into it so all is not lost. I can do better now that I have learned a bit from mistakes.

Rebellious Waffle
06-22-2007, 15:36
You're right, I looked it up and owning just Rome is the prerequisite to victory in the Holy Roman Empire campaign. Still, even if you donate Jerusalem it's a hop, skip and a jump from the seashore and can be taken quickly by a spy/army combo if need be.

06-22-2007, 18:36
That is usually what I do with all the Catholics

07-02-2007, 15:00
Hey all, I just played Byzantium last night and they're quite a difficult but managable faction. I missed the Romans so much that I wanted to see what the Byzantines were all about and yeah I agree there Byzantine cavalry and Zarototai cavalry are damned good. Its good to see that the Romans didn't get rid of everything in the few hundred years that have passed... shame about the western roman empire though...

Well that said, I played them and I sent Prince John's army to take the rebel castle north of Thessalonica, more or less north, and fortified it with a decent sized army incase the Venetian's decided to argue about who gets it. I sent my general... whats his name... anyway the guy who was in Thessalonica to the town just west of it so I gave me a new source of income, and a place where troops can be trained to defend against Sicilian and Venetian incursions. On my Eastern front I had taken Rhodes, Smyra... spelling error, Trebezoid and Irakilion. Now I just advance what I have economically and millitary wise and I'm in the process of taking back what the Eastern Roman's had lost!

Since I played Barbarian Invasion and now Medieval 2 I compared the territory's of the Eastern Roman Empire to the Byzantines and my god!! What a loss of ground!! Iraklion? How did the Venetian's get it? Rebellion probably? And africa... Egypt? For heavens sake they been conquered so many times why don't they just give up!

07-04-2007, 19:08
Stay on topic, please. All history discussion belongs in the monastery (https://forums.totalwar.org/vb/forumdisplay.php?f=16)

I'm going to trim away all posts and parts of posts in this topic which are not related to the game, since it appears allowing a little leeway does not aid the goals of this forum. This will apply to all other threads here too, as and when it can be managed.

Flavius Merobaudes
07-04-2007, 20:01
Thanks for cleaning up.:shame:

I'm about to start a new campaign as Byzantium. I wanted to know: Is it possible to keep the European parts of your empire stable, conquering Sofia and Durazzo, then staying defensive - and meanwhile capturing Anatolia, the Levant and Egypt, to reinstall the former ERE? Or will I be overrun by Latin invaders? I know Venice and Hungary can become really nasty.

07-04-2007, 21:22
Thanks for cleaning up.:shame:

I'm about to start a new campaign as Byzantium. I wanted to know: Is it possible to keep the European parts of your empire stable, conquering Sofia and Durazzo, then staying defensive - and meanwhile capturing Anatolia, the Levant and Egypt, to reinstall the former ERE? Or will I be overrun by Latin invaders? I know Venice and Hungary can become really nasty.

Well from my experience of playing as the Byzantines I also conquered Sofia and Durazzo and if you bolster them with mainly byzantinian spearmen and trebizond archers you can hold the Venetians, Milanese and the Sicilians at bay since they, with me, usually sent just mailed knights and italian militia(The Hungarians have never attacked me so I have no experience of fighting their army sorry) In both Sofia and Durazzo I had 6 units of spearmen and I think 3 units of archers.

I've tried to take back the lands that the Eastern Roman Empire lost, it is difficult but possible you just have to stick in there, have patience and plenty of it! I took back the lands the Eastern Empire had up to Alexandria after that the Mongols came and started to rampage through my lands taking one settlement after another :wall: . So in effect I really only made a "net gain" of the Asia minor territories that Turkey had not much but acceptable :2thumbsup:

Gray Beard
07-09-2007, 05:25
Having played the Byzantines for quite a while now with the 1.2 patch (Including for hour and hours on a laptop while crossing the Pacific in a plane) I will stand by my initial walk through on page one or two of this thread. Though I have modified it a bit.

The short version
Marry Anna to the Hungarians
Make a treaty with Venetians and wait for them to break it
Go after the rapacious Turks from turn 1

The object is to gain control of the south East corner of the map from Tunis to Zagreb. To do this you simply have to be wily enough to keep from being at war with more than two factions at once. Something that has changed with the patch is that it appears that there are now many more times when the AI will blockade a port or place a city under siege simply to gain favor with merchants or nobles. You can sometimes let them blockade your port or siege your city for two turns and find that they are more than happy forgive and forget. This is especially true if you can keep your reputation higher than despicable which is sometime a problem for take 'em and sack or exterminate 'em me

Gray Beard
07-24-2007, 06:30
Administrators-If this belongs somewhere else please feel free to move it just tell me where

Someone asked me to place a set of links to works dealing with Byzantine history and military.

Here are some that I have used or know about. Most of these or similar titles should be available in any university or larger public library. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list and if anyone has something they think should be added send me a private message, I'll add it.

General Reference
The Complete Idiot's Guide(R) to the Crusades

Encyclopedia of the Byzantine Empire (http://www.amazon.com/Encyclopedia-Byzantine-Empire-Jennifer-Lawler/dp/0786415207/ref=sr_1_1/102-0700512-4318521?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1185256004&sr=1-1) (I agree with the reviewer on Amazon.com that this is a somewhat mediocre source)

Empires At War: A Chronological Encyclopedia From Sumer To The Fall Of Byzantium (http://www.amazon.com/Empires-War-Chronological-Encyclopedia-Byzantium/dp/0313334110/ref=sr_1_3/102-0700512-4318521?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1185256004&sr=1-3)

Ancient Europe, 8000 B.C. to A.D. 1000: An Encyclopedia of the Barbarian World Edition (Two volume set) (http://www.amazon.com/Ancient-Europe-8000-B-C-1000/dp/0684806681/ref=sr_1_1/102-0700512-4318521?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1185256222&sr=1-1)

The Encyclopedia of Ancient Civilizations of the Near East and Mediterrnaean (http://www.amazon.com/Encyclopedia-Ancient-Civilizations-Near-Mediterrnaean/dp/B000P6G10W/ref=sr_1_2/102-0700512-4318521?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1185256295&sr=1-2)

Encyclopedia of the Roman World (http://www.amazon.com/Encyclopedia-Roman-World-History/dp/0746061307/ref=sr_1_4/102-0700512-4318521?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1185256358&sr=1-4) This does not look like the one I have

Historical Atlas of the Crusades (http://www.amazon.com/Historical-Atlas-Crusades/dp/1904668003/ref=pd_bbs_sr_3/102-0700512-4318521?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1185256425&sr=1-3)

The Alexiad (http://www.amazon.com/Alexiad-Penguin-Classics-Anna-Comnena/dp/0140449582/ref=pd_bbs_2/102-0700512-4318521?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1185256479&sr=1-2) Of particular interest since the author is the Byzantine princes you have control of at the beginning of M2TW

Byzantine History
A Concise History of Byzantium (http://www.amazon.com/Concise-History-Byzantium-Warren-Treadgold/dp/0333718305/ref=sr_1_3/102-0700512-4318521?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1185256591&sr=1-3)

Byzantium and Its Army, 284-1081 (http://www.amazon.com/Byzantium-Army-284-1081-Warren-Treadgold/dp/0804731632/ref=sr_1_5/102-0700512-4318521?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1185256591&sr=1-5) A very useful book in many ways

History of Byzantium: 306-1453 (http://www.amazon.com/History-Byzantium-306-1453-Blackwell-Ancient/dp/0631235132/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/102-0700512-4318521?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1185256768&sr=1-1) This is the only one on this list I haven't at least looked at.

History of the Turks
Turks: A Journey of a Thousand Years, 600-1600 (http://www.amazon.com/Turks-Journey-Thousand-Years-600-1600/dp/1903973562/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/102-0700512-4318521?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1185256884&sr=1-1)

The Turks in World History (http://www.amazon.com/Turks-History-Carter-Vaughn-Findley/dp/0195167708/ref=pd_bbs_sr_2/102-0700512-4318521?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1185256884&sr=1-2)

Armies of the Ottoman Turks, 1300-1774 (http://www.amazon.com/Armies-Ottoman-Turks-1300-1774-Arms/dp/0850455111/ref=sr_1_17/102-0700512-4318521?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1185256884&sr=1-17)

Byzantium: The Lost Empire (http://www.amazon.com/Byzantium-Lost-Empire-Byzantium/dp/B000QGE86A/ref=pd_bbs_sr_2/102-0700512-4318521?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1185257256&sr=1-2) A stunning documentary from the Discovery Channel that explores the culture and art of the Byzantine Empire. My set is a 3 DVD set I don't know why this one is two DVD set?

Dated and I think often wrong but soooooo Influential
The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (http://www.amazon.com/Decline-Fall-Roman-Empire/dp/0753818817/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/102-0700512-4318521?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1185257794&sr=8-1)

The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam : From Jihad to Dhimmitude : Seventh-Twentieth Century (http://www.amazon.com/Decline-Eastern-Christianity-Under-Islam/dp/0838636780/ref=pd_bbs_3/102-0700512-4318521?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1185254769&sr=1-3)

Stranger than Fiction
This guy claims to be the heir to the Byzantine throne (http://www.new-byzantium.org/)

Gray Beard
07-24-2007, 06:36
Atreides, who seems to think I know a lot about the Byzantine Empire asked me to post a list of sources on Byzantium. I sent him a shorter version of this. Most of these I have at least looked at. I'll link what I can through Amazon,com and give you a full title and ISBN number for the others. I have purchased some of these for the library I direct for use in AP World History classes and most of them should be on shelf at any university or larger public library and they may be on the shelf at a school library if your school has a big AP focus

This is not necessary an exhaustive list works by any stretch. Just ones I know about and have at time consulted. Others might want to add something to it. If so drop me a private message.

Reference works
Encyclopedia of the Byzantine Empire (http://www.amazon.com/Encyclopedia-Byzantine-Empire-Jennifer-Lawler/dp/0786415207/ref=sr_1_1/102-0700512-4318521?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1185253740&sr=1-1)

At War: A Chronological Encyclopedia From Sumer To The Fall Of Byzantium (http://www.amazon.com/Empires-War-Chronological-Encyclopedia-Byzantium/dp/0313334110/ref=sr_1_3/102-0700512-4318521?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1185253740&sr=1-3)
The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Crusades (http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Idiots-Guide-R-Crusades/dp/0028642430/ref=sr_1_1/102-0700512-4318521?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1185253299&sr=8-1)
Ancient Europe, 8000 B.C. to A.D. 1000: An Encyclopedia of the Barbarian World

http://www.amazon.com/Encyclopedia-Roman-World-History/dp/0746061307/ref=sr_1_4/102-0700512-4318521?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1185253656&sr=1-4 (http://www.amazon.com/Ancient-Europe-8000-B-C-1000/dp/0684806681/ref=sr_1_1/102-0700512-4318521?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1185253493&sr=1-1)"]Encyclopedia of the Roman Worldhttp://www.amazon.com/Encyclopedia-Roman-World-History/dp/0746061307/ref=sr_1_4/102-0700512-4318521?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1185253656&sr=1-4

Byzantium : The Lost Empire (http://www.amazon.com/Byzantium-Lost-Empire-Byzantium/dp/B000QGE86A/ref=pd_bbs_sr_2/102-0700512-4318521?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1185252334&sr=1-2)

The Alexiad (http://www.amazon.com/Alexiad-Penguin-Classics-Anna-Comnena/dp/0140449582/ref=pd_bbs_2/102-0700512-4318521?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1185254431&sr=1-2)
This work is particularly good for M2TW because it chronicles the life and time Emperor Alexis I who is the emperor you start the game with. Anna Comeus is the Byzantine princes you have at the beginning of the game

Byzantine History
Any book by Warren Treadgold (http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_b/102-0700512-4318521?initialSearch=1&url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=treadgold&Go.x=0&Go.y=0&Go=Go)is a good place to start. He can be rather dry but his books are generally short and filled with facts. I particularly like Byzantium and its Army and A Concise Historyof Byzantium

Byzantine Philosophy and Its Ancient Sources (http://www.amazon.com/Byzantine-Philosophy-Its-Ancient-Sources/dp/0199246130/ref=sr_1_36/102-0700512-4318521?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1185254193&sr=1-36)

Related works
The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (http://www.amazon.com/Decline-Empire-Modern-Library-Classics/dp/0375758119/ref=pd_bbs_1/102-0700512-4318521?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1185254579&sr=1-1) (Not a personal favorite of mine)

[/B] History of the Turks[/B]
A Journey of a Thousand Years, 600-1600 (http://www.amazon.com/Turks-Journey-Thousand-Years-600-1600/dp/1903973562/ref=sr_1_10/102-0700512-4318521?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1185254653&sr=1-10)
Armies of the Ottoman Turks, 1300-1774 (http://www.amazon.com/Armies-Ottoman-Turks-1300-1774-Arms/dp/0850455111/ref=sr_1_17/102-0700512-4318521?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1185254653&sr=1-17)

[/B]More controversial[/B]
The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam : From Jihad to Dhimmitude : Seventh-Twentieth Century (http://www.amazon.com/Decline-Eastern-Christianity-Under-Islam/dp/0838636780/ref=pd_bbs_3/102-0700512-4318521?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1185254769&sr=1-3)

Gray Beard
07-24-2007, 06:37
duplicate deleted

Rebellious Waffle
07-24-2007, 14:02
Something I've discovered during my Byzantine campaigns:

Byzantine guard archers are not your everyday archer corps: they're well-armored and good at melee fighting. Not the best infantry fighters, mind, but very serviceable nonetheless. They're not as lethal in ranged combat as English longbowmen, and they lack the punch of gunpowder units -- but with armor upgrades they can serve as Roman legionaries.

One of the Romans' great advantages in battle was the pilum, the javelin. Byzantine guard archers don't have javelins, of course, but they can start shooting from farther away, which compensates for the lower level of armor-piercing punch.

Thinking thus, I began to construct my Byzantine legions in the following manner:

10 Byzantine guard archers
5 Heavy infantry (Varangian guard for preference)
4 Heavy cavalry (Kataphractoi for preference)
Assorted specialists (General, Vardariotai, artillery, etc.)

Deployment is based on the manipular legion:

A = Archers
C = Cavalry
M = Melee infantry


Archers are ordered not to skirmish. As the enemy closes in, the arrows start to fall; it's not gunpowder, but ten stacks of archers can do a lot of damage, and the damage only increases as the enemy draws near. When melee fighting begins, fire-at-will mode is disabled; the front rank stands its ground and gives battle, while the second rank continues to rain arrows on whatever enemies are hanging around the edge of the fighting. As the front rank is depleted, the second rank steps into the breach. Should gaps appear in the line even after such reinforcement, the fully rested melee infantry (think Triarii) rush in and butcher the exhausted foe. Cavalry can be used to wither the flanks and rear with hammer-and-anvil style charges. When the enemy routs, melee infantry and cavalry withdraw and the archers form ranks, pouring more arrows into the backs of the fleeing foe. The long range and high ammo compliment of Byzantine guard archers lets them shine over their Roman forebears in this regard -- they can slaughter routers without breaking ranks, allowing them to instantly resume a defensive posture at need.

You don't have much to fear from massed cavalry charges into your archer contingent, by the by -- witness the Battle of Crecy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Crécy). What you lack in English longbows can be made up by the sheer volume of archers at your disposal. The enemy cavalry have no choice but to charge your archers or die ignominiously under a storm of arrows -- thus pinning them to your archers, assuming they even survive the charge. Send in your own heavy cavalry to crush them from behind, and it'll be a slaughter.

Artillery are mainly useful because of their long striking distance. The enemy will have to engage at close quarters in order to avoid being taken apart piecemeal; but then they come within arrow range and the fit really hits the shan. Plant your cavalry to either side, forcing the foe into a long, narrow funnel -- your arrows will be maximally effective under such conditions. By the time they close for melee combat, they'll be in no condition to fight anything.

Summing up: Roman legions went out of style because of the battle of Adrianople, where massed cavalry broke the Romans' ranks and they didn't have anything like enough time to use their pila effectively against such targets -- fast-moving, lots of momentum. Guard archers can shoot from longer range, negating this cavalry advantage and bringing the Legion back into style. Roma vivo!

07-24-2007, 15:33
Dude, in this game no spearmen means death or poverty. As much as i hate it the Biz heavy cav is not up to the Catholics. So your cathafracts will hardly be a match to FK, or CK. Not to mention how "easy" is to build earl or king stables. Even if they made it some how, the cost will be to great.Your stack will be wipth out from 10 FK only. And about the mongols.
Dismounted latinkon are better than variag (on ver 1.02) and easy to build. Plus that way all your units will be made in a citadel.
On the other hand the guard archers are really good as you say it. So i propose a army of 4 guard archers, 5 dismounted latinkon and 5 biz. spearmen. The rest is vardariotary. Way? Because the Byzantium here do not have pure might and armor, instead they have agility. And the best HA in the game. Use it. Biz is not Rome, and is not France. And since 4th century A.D. all infantry armies become a joke.

Rebellious Waffle
07-24-2007, 16:24
I used to think the same way, but the army I just described is working pretty well so far. More heavy infantry and spears can be added as specialists, but the core formation hasn't failed me yet in wars against Westerners. One or two thousand arrows before the engagement begins make decent substitutes for spears, and if the enemy is really Cavalry-heavy the archers can always skirmish back into the lines whilst spear specialists handle the rest.

07-24-2007, 17:13
your formation looks good, but you'll probably need some spearmen to watch your flanks and some fast cav to chase down routers (who said horse archers ?)

another thing, I read that you use fire at will. Though it is efficient already, I'd like to stress that focusing 10 unit-fire on a single unit can be devastating too.
for instance, those silver chevron guys you spot among the enemy's army on the campaign map, or just to create a gap in the line...

Still I like your formation, it really feels like it is some sort of legion that has evolued over time.

Rebellious Waffle
07-24-2007, 19:12
Typically what I've done is use Kataphractoi as flank protection; circumstances have conspired at points throughout the campaign such that it was often easier for me to get quality archers and horses than spearmen, which is where the formation first came into being. Armor upgrades can give Byzantine guard archers a defense rating about equal to that of dismounted lancers; they can hold out in melee long enough to receive support from specialist hand-to-hand fighters, which they only really need if they're facing high-quality heavy infantry or cavalry that got through the initial hail of arrows. The crippling effect of mass arrow fire usually wreaks enough devastation on oncoming infantry so that the one-on-one melee superiority of the enemy's fighters doesn't matter as much.

(This can be somewhat surprising -- it surprised me when I first began to experiment -- because one usually doesn't get to see the effects of that much massed arrow fire on an oncoming formation. But consider; 10 stacks of 60 archers each, would release 600 arrows in one full volley. Even if the enemy comes in hard and fast enough for you to only get off three volleys, that's still 1,800 arrows loosed before the melee fighting even begins. If we're conservative and say that 1 arrow in 30 will kill an enemy soldier, that's 60 enemy casualties right off the bat, or a full infantry stack. Not a bad body count, all things considered.)

Interestingly enough, my experience is that light cavalry chasers aren't as important with this sort of army than they are with others; routing foes tend to fall like wheat before a scythe, because they lose their shield bonus against missile fire when their backs are turned. 80% or higher casualties on the enemy side is not unusual, even when no attempt to catch routers with cavalry is made whatsoever.

Vardariotai are useful in such a force because of their harassment potential -- unlike the all-horse armies I tended to favor with Byzantium before, they get used more as bait than as attackers in their own right. They're excellent for leading enemy soldiers into the guard archers' firing range, and have a good enough defense rating and charge bonus to demolish missile troops sent forward to skirmish before the main engagement. They're often critical components of the army in that capacity, since the foe has no choice but storm the guards' position when they can't effectively return missile fire.

07-24-2007, 19:57
It definitely sounds like you have a long experience of using this force.
I guess it is finetuned to your needs.

finding good and unorthodox formations is a reason why I still play custom battles from time to time.

Rebellious Waffle
07-24-2007, 22:40
The formation I just described is the core of a series of other formations; I listed it first because it is the most flexible, and may be adapted by the addition or subtraction of specialists, the rearrangement of soldiers, or changing the supporting units. The core formation is inappropriate in some circumstances -- here are two examples of relatively simple and versatile modifications:

A = Archers (Byzantine Guard Archers)
M = Melee Infantry (Dismounted Latinkons, Byzantine Infantry, Varangian Guard)
S = Spear Infantry (Byzantine Spearmen, Dismounted Byzantine Lancers)
C = Cavalry (Heavy -- Byzantine Lancers, Kataphractoi)
H = Cavalry (Harassers -- Skythikons, Byzantine Cavalry, Vardariotai)
X = Enemy unit

Anti-Knight Variant: the Sandwich

My basic formation, described above, is best suited to fighting infantry units with relatively low attack power -- they're slow-moving, which causes them to suffer more before melee commences, and they're not likely to slice the Guard Archers to ribbons when they finally reach close quarters. When fighting lots of heavy cavalry, the basic formation would do well to be changed:



Set the spears to Guard Mode, and disable skirmish mode for the rearmost rank of archers; let the front rank skirmish. Keep the front rank of archers in action as long as possible; archers are more accurate when they don't have to fire over the heads of their own soldiers, which makes each arrow count for more in the early engagement. As the enemy cavalry advance, get the front rank to melt back into the empty rank behind the spearmen, ready to serve as reinforcements after the charge comes; disable skirmish mode as soon as they're in position. The troop deployment should look like this:


Which presents a strong front to onrushing knights, absorbing their charge and putting your guard archers on more of an even keel if they need to bolster the line at a later stage. The archers are also free to lay down supression fire on those enemies which have not yet joined the press of melee, which lets you play on the advantage of having lots of ranged units. If your archers never get a chance to shoot, you might as well have brought along more lancers. Also, notice what happens in the event that your enemies manage to kill off your lancers:

CC _____ CC

They get a nice salvo of arrows full in the face. Point-blank shots are nasty. Especially cool is if you bring your cavalry around to box them in:



You get one of my favorite tactics in the history of ever, Hannibal's Crescent (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Cannae). If they try to rout, send your cavalry back to protect your flanks and prepare the archers to start pouring arrows into their retreating backs. If they flee the field, you've won; if they rally, feed them more arrows. Unless something really weird happened, you've just about won the engagement by this point. (Not necessarily the whole battle, just the bit involving snippy horses.)

Anti-Heavy Infantry Variant: The Bursting Dam

This one's an old favorite for taking down heavy infantry, such as Dismounted Feudal Knights. It's rather like the Sandwich in its intial shape, save that the melee component is comprised of Varangian Guards:


Normally, proposing that archers should take the brunt of the first charge from heavy infantry would be suicidal. However, Byzantine guard archers have very good armor by archer standards, and they can take a decent beating when they have to. Their purpose here is to trip up the incoming enemy infantry, pinning them in place and possibly taking a few down. By maximizing the amount of time they stay in front, you maximize the accuracy of the arrow volleys they lob at the enemy as they close. Flat trajectories are your friend -- it's a large part of why gunpowder units are so effective. (Apart from the high attack power and armor penetration, that is. Bullets fly pretty straight, which means a fair number of them are going to hit the mark.)

Now, excellent heavy infantry won't be stopped forever by Byzantine guard archers -- Janissaries, for example. The front ranks are going to start looking a little thin, so that something like this happens:



Notice that some of the heavy infantry are now contiguous with your Varangian Guards. The Varangians can now fill the archerless breaches, which is all part of the plan; Varangians don't use shields in melee, which makes them more vulnerable in the initial charge. But when they actual crush of hand-to-hand combat begins, their armor-piercing axes are a terror on the battlefield. Bring the cavalry around to encircle the enemy formation, and get the Varangian guards to press forward. Their axes are designed to cut through this kind of foe, and the enemy has already been depleted by arrows, tired by fighting the archers, and demoralized by the sudden cavalry strike. They are, in the immortal words of Thucydides, "pwned".

Gray Beard
07-24-2007, 23:52
You can do the same thing you've described, a lot cheaper by replacing the Guards with Horse archers, the cheap unarmored ones. But in stead of bunching every body up you spread the HA out with the heavy Infantry in the center. let the enemy see the Infantry and charge them then bring the HA in to shoot from either side. Because you are attacking from the rear flank you'll do more damage. If the enemy stops to chase the HA units then simply run away. The idea is to get the enemy moving sideways back and forth. If he does he is playing your game if he doesn't he dies anyway. Horse archer can actually do a lot damage, even against heavily armored knights especially if the horse is not armored. The Horse archers have a decided advantage against the early gun powder units because they have a much faster rate of fire. Range even outs because they can rush in and out and attack from behind

You'd be surprised how many times your Spearmen or heavy infantry end up just standing there nearly the whole battle waiting to be attacked. You just have to keep the HA unit beyond each other's range.

The Guard archers cost too much and are too valuable on city walls to use the way you've drawn it up. A group of Guard Archers inside a besieged city will slaughter any other unit in the game

H = Horse Archer individual units
BI = Byzantine Infantry/Spearmen Whatever group
EU = Enemy Unit groups

H -------> EU <--------H
H -------> EU <--------H
H -------> EU <--------H


Rebellious Waffle
07-25-2007, 00:07
That's true -- Skythikons make excellent ranged attackers in their own right. My reasoning for using the Guard Archers was as follows:

1) There are half again as many Guard Archers in a stack as Horse Archers -- ten stacks of Guard Archers lay down as many arrows as fifteen stacks of Horse Archers, which does a fairly decent job of evening out the price differential.

2) In the campaign in which I first started using Guard Archers, I had a bucket of 'em laying around Acre with nothing much to do, and decided to experiment. These sorts of tactics were the eventual result, as Egypt was delighted to discover. ~;)

3) In the aforementioned campaign, money was no object and gold chevrons are stylin'.

4) I've been using Horse Archers almost exclusively for a long, long time, and decided to branch out a bit. As it happened, the Guard Archer experiment was very successful and I figured I'd give the wider community a shout-out.

So, Horse Archers are great -- but I'd never actually used Byzantine infantry units for anything, and it's neat to discover that they can pull their own weight with style.

Gray Beard
07-25-2007, 07:16
Another way to do this would to use the horse arches on the side and the Guard Archers in the throat of the trap. With their longer range you might be able to hit the enemy from three directions.

There is also a problem, I think with with launching arrows against any heavily armored target head on. That is where they have armor and shield bonuses. I would like to see some statistics of kills by 60 foot archers loosing arrows at a group of heavy cavalry coming at them head on versus the number of kills obtained by attacking the same cavalry from behind or without the shield bonus. This is a really criticism of your strategy just a general observation. The back armor on most knight type units is 1/2 or less than the front with a shield. I wonder how much difference that makes?

Rebellious Waffle
07-25-2007, 17:42
Probably quite a bit -- I'll have to run some experiments and find out. Provisionally I'd say that high shield bonuses are a real problem, though they may be mitigated to a certain extent by the use of flaming arrows. Huge numbers of Guard Archers might be able to cause a rout before the enemy closes in, allowing them to strike at the less-defended backs of the heavy infantry before they rally again.

By the by, is this a decent rendition of what you meant about the Horse Archers?

A = Archers (Byzantine Guard Archers)
M = Melee Infantry
C = Cavalry (Heavy -- Byzantine Lancers, Kataphractoi)
H = Cavalry (Harassers -- Skythikons, Byzantine Cavalry, Vardariotai)

4 Harassers
4 Heavy Cavalry
10 Guard Archers
5 Melee Infantry







Front archer rank is sent to skirmish, as in the Sandwich. The missile cavalry lurk in the far front, preferably under cover. Missile cavalry only begin to fire when they've got round the back or sides of the enemy infantry; ideally, they begin to shoot at the same moment as the Guard Archers. The enemy cannot turn in any direction without exposing their backs to one or the other contingent of ranged attackers, maximizing the opening damage potential. When and if they close with the Guard Archers, there'll be a sizeable cavalry force at their backs, ready to charge in and force a rout. If they charge the missile cavalry, use the steppe maneuver (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Manzikert). If they stand still... well, that's an awful lot of arrows to sit there and take, wot?

In my experience with such armies, I've been able to win against infantry forces repeatedly through the agency of Heavy Cavalry -- swinging them around from the flank is an excellent way of inducing a rout. Routs are critical. Every instant spent out of hand-to-hand combat is a point in your favor. Routing and rallying enemies have to cross the same distance twice; your archers catch them coming and going. As such, Heavy Cavalry serve an offensive and defensive purpose: offensive to keep the Archers' ranged advantage open for as long as possible, defensive to keep the heat from settling on them too long. Guard Archers are, regrettably, ill-suited to slugging it out with the best of the best. They can pull their weight in a swordfight, but that's not their main job. Cavalry-induced routs can give your Archers valuable breathing room, reducing the final casualty count.

Gray Beard
07-26-2007, 06:10
Yes that is more or less the idea. Though you are probably better at it than I am.

07-28-2007, 01:05
Hey everyone, its been awhile since I posted here. Just came back from Zante... erm... that might be spelt wrong lol. Anyway in my hotel I was playing as the Byzantinian Romans, damned best faction in the game :2thumbsup: :laugh4: , and the two most pestering factions I came across was Venice who kept declaring war and then wanting cease-fire's left right and center and them damned Hungarians!!! The Turks I understand becuase of the old blood fued, which rocks!! damn them lol. I need help handling the Venetians, as the Hungarians are easily held at Sofia with my Varagian Guard, they just keep throwing massive stacks of seargent spearmen with pavise crosbow men... it eventually gets too much. The missile cavalry are VERY handy, thanks romans!!! lol The tech level I'm at, military wise is up to Dismounted Byzantine Lancers so... any helpful tips are gratefully appreciated!

Thanks again!

Gray Beard
07-28-2007, 12:01

Look at my walk-through for the Byzantines.

I find, especially if you auto-resolve that the Byzantine troops do not match up against the Venetians very well. However I describe how to mollify them long enough to take out the Turks and by then you have an over whelming economic advantage and the ability to build Byzantine Swordmen or Dismounted Lancers

Here are some basic tricks
1. Marry Anna the princess to the Hungarian royal heir at the beginning of the game. Alliances based upon marriage last longer than those based upon diplomacy.

2. Don't take Sophia the Hungarians will fight to get it and don't build a port in Corinth until you are already to go to war with th Venetians because they WILL Blockade it only a turn or two after you complete it.

3. Don't get serious with the Venetians until you've taken out or about taken out the Turks. Let them blockade you and make peace. Only worry if they send an army. If you've taken Durazo make sure you have a big stack, even if it is militia in the town. It will discourage them from sieging it to fullfill a mission.

3. Don't try and beat the Venetians in one few swoop but in a series of three or four wars. The first time they start a war take Iraqlion and possibly Ragusa then make peace and build. Let them start another war take another province and so on until they are gone. Once you get hold of Ragusa and get it producing troops turn Corinth into a city.

4. The key to breaking the Venetians is actually Ragusa. They have no other castle. If you take it they have real problems. Without the heavy cavalry that they can build in Ragusa your troops are a match for them.

5. I don't normally keep Venice. There are too many cities within a turns march of it. It also is a very attractive target. I exterminate the population, and sell any building that can be sold then give it to a nation such as the Danish or Portuguese I'll offer to swap it to them for trade rights, map information and 500 gold. They will almost never attack you and end up being a buffer between you and the Milanese and HRE. Indeed, I don't like N. Italy. I'll sometime go in there and take all the cities and and then sell everything and then let the rebels have them all. You'd be surprised how many times no body takes them back for 25 or 30 turns.

08-06-2007, 11:54
From my own experience in writing a Byznatium AAR, I thought I'd share a few impressions. Of course these have been mentioned before.

1. Ally with the Hungarians. Anna Comneneus can get you a marriage alliance a few turns in. It's a good investment as you don't have to worry about the northern frontier for a while and can focus on the east (Turks) and west (Venetians).

2. Durazzo is a pit. It's unwalled, of limited financial value, takes forever to build up and is often the cause of a war with Venice or Sicily. It's a $%#-hole but everyone seems to want it. Avoid it unless you have plans to expand further into the Balkans. The same could be said, to a lesser extent, of Trebizond. It's out in the middle of nowhere, it's really not connected to the rest of the Empire and it can be the cause of an early conflict with the Turks. However, if you want to take on the Turks, it's a troop center close to Yerevan and might be useful to open up a second front on their Anatolian settlements.

3. Nicosia and Rhodes (if you take it) should be converted to towns to take advantage of trade. Corinth too perhaps as it is not well placed for a Castle.

4. Sofia is key, beat the Hungarians to it. It helps establish a Danube frontier and gives you a castle on your border.

5. Historically speaking the Turks are your major enemy, but the Venetians seem to beat them to the punch. Maybe it's the difficulties of marching through Anatolia, or the fact the Turks are busy picking off rebels at Adana or Mosul, but the Venetians seem to attack Byzantium first.

6. Having a navy is good idea. I have fleets centered in the Aegean and the Adriatic (when I expanded). This allows for picking off Iraklion and moving troops to active fronts. Also fire ships kick butt. Navies can also be used to close land bridges in case you don't want avaricious Crusaders wandering across your empire. I also use ships to shuttle forces to and from Nicaea and Constantinople, as the land connection between the two adds a few turns of travel time.

7. Vardariotai are your friend. They are an advanced HA unit that you can build from the beginning. They're also decent in a pinch for melee, and excel at rout pursuit. I didn't like or know how to use HAs when I started but I quickly gained an affinity for them after getting the Vards. This is good because your beginning infantry and regular cav are ordinary. Oh, Trebizond archers, also available from the beginning, are nifty as well with long range. You may not be able to slug it out toe to toe with the western powers, but you've got stand off power. Many times I rained death on advancing forces and as soon as they hit my main line, they routed.

08-14-2007, 12:10
I agree with all of OverKnight's points, with only minor adjustments. Sound advice, sir, and I'm enjoying your AAR.

My current campaign is very similar. For instance;

1. Marriage alliance with Hungary (with subsequent small donations) has lasted quite a while AND provided an ally against Venice...instead of another enemy.

2. Durazzo is indeed a pit, but it's a great stepping stone to Ragusa! And once you have that castle, you've hamstrung the Venetian weenies! *maniacal laughter here*

3. Agree 100%. Every island and peninsula should be a money-making city. The Empire needs only a few strategic castles in the early and mid-game.

4. Yes! Sofia should be the huge rock fortress that Constantinople hides behind! Take it first, build it up, and never relinquish it! While it should be able to withstand seige after seige, another option is to meet the invaders in the field, before the seige, and let the Vard do what they do best.

5. Venice will attack. I just accept it and plan on an assault of Ragusa and then Iraklion. ALLY WITH THE TURKS (I know, I know...wash my mouth out). But it gives time to build a bit and believe me, those dirty Turks will betray you...just like you want.

Here's how I did it: Like OverKnight, I sent Prince John to Smyrna, then Rhodes...then Adana! Sadly, he was lost in the assault on Antioch, but the point here is Adana - it's a nice way to attack the back-stabbing Turks from multiple sides. As soon as they betrayed me, forces marched from Adana, Smyrna, and Nicaea.

6. Navies. Yup.

7. Guns don't kill people. Vards do. These guys are just too good. Flying purple people eaters.

8. Additional point here. Ikoner's Studios are very helpful. Build them and watch your conversion rates climb.

Only halfway through this campaign and I'm already a member of the I-heart-Byzantines Club.

08-17-2007, 10:37
i like to keep corinth as a castle.just build a lot of fram at corinth and send your highest level chivalry governor to corinth.once you can't build frams any more build the two troops building you think you will need the most.all ways build the upgrade to next level as you can get it.by doing this you can get dismount latinkon at trun 54 or mount latinkon.did this in my lastest byzantine campaign.i got both dismount latinkon and varangain guard at trun 54.i argee adana is a must have, the turks like backstabing you by attacking adana.

08-17-2007, 11:40
Actually I find Corinth quite a suitable for a castle. Especially during the first 40-50 turns. Byzantium's navy is at least on par if not superior to nearby powers - which makes shipping troops around, feasible and Corinth acts like a hub (at least in my games) for staging and ferrying troops very quickly to various parts of the Empire (it can quickly reinforce byzantine posessions in the Adriatic - if you went that route - or protect important spots of the empire (constantinople, for example), it can be used for invasions across the Mediteraneean, etc. I use naval transport A LOT when playing the Byzantines.

Alexander: The hellenic empire
10-18-2007, 18:42
Actually I find Corinth quite a suitable for a castle. Especially during the first 40-50 turns. Byzantium's navy is at least on par if not superior to nearby powers - which makes shipping troops around, feasible and Corinth acts like a hub (at least in my games) for staging and ferrying troops very quickly to various parts of the Empire (it can quickly reinforce byzantine posessions in the Adriatic - if you went that route - or protect important spots of the empire (constantinople, for example), it can be used for invasions across the Mediteraneean, etc. I use naval transport A LOT when playing the Byzantines.

Corinth is useful at the start of the game since it is the base from which you can launch attacks on the Italian Peninsula and Sicily with great ease from their. It is a vital base. Do not count on Thessaloniki for defending it since there is a bridge right under Durazzo. Later this castle might become useless, so convert it into a city if you still can!

10-26-2007, 22:28
Things to know when playing as Byzantium

You are Christian but not Catholic. This has an up side as well as a down side.
You can not call crusades but if you take a crusade target the crusade will end!
The Pope can not call a crusade against you, but as you are not Catholic, Crusading armies can attack you and your cities on the way to their target. If you are strong enough take the target first, otherwise stay out of their way.

Vardariotai are the strongest starting unit you have and should be the best HA in the game, but it doesn‘t seem to perform as well as some of the others. Still it is what you have to work with and you can win with it. If you are new to Horse Archers just remember to use all your arrows before you fight. Also set them on wide spacing and string them out to only two ranks deep. Use them on the flanks to form a kill sack. Engage and shoot the enemy from the rear when ever possible. If someone chases a unit out of line send a second to hit him from behind.

Most of your easy access units will come from castles so if you want spear or archers, go to the castles first.

Archers are your strongest suite vs. the eastern factions and most of the western ones so learn how to use them to best effect, whether you are using horse or infantry.


When dealing with the emerging factions (Mongols et al) forts with only and agent inside are no-go areas for them. I discovered this when trying to get them to occupy them so I could have a turkey shoot with artillery…they avoid empty forts and you can use them as bottle necks to separate or channel them or just block access to an area. Just have something behind them or they can‘t move over them to bypass your traps. Placing them in front of bridges or fords will usually make them go elsewhere.

Rurik the Chieftain
11-08-2007, 14:07
I'm deep into my first campaign as the Byzantines, and although it was pretty smooth sailing at first, now things are looking not so good, mostly due to my bad judgement. My game was pretty crazy, with the Turks doing nothing, Poland going on an early crusade and moving their capital to southern Anatolia, and me ignoring the advice of almost everyone in this thread and driving into northern Italy, central Europe, and the Balkans. My >90% HA cavalry armies ate the Venetians alive at the beginning, and their faction is now destroyed. Now I've crippled Hungary, taken Rome and relegated the Papal States to the most pathetic horde ever (mostly just a navy), crippled Milan by taking everything but the city on Corsica, and taken a substantial chunk out of the HRE. The only problem is that, as you might have guessed, every catholic faction hates me and wants my head on a pole :skull: . So there's 5 catholic factions warring against me now that France and Denmark have joined the fray. I made an alliance (by princess) with Russia, and even they randomly broke it and began attacking. And the worst part is, of course, the Mongols just took Antioch and are creeping up on my back doorstep, which is poorly defended (the Turks are weak, remember?). My cities are full of unrest, because they are deep in catholic territory and filled with spies from about 7 factions, so if I take my sizeable garrisons out, they will revolt. Now, I'm starting to run under the line with even my substantial economy because of the Black Plague and the strain of maintaining cities.

I figure once I lose or give up I'll try an alternative strategy. :sweatdrop:

11-09-2007, 14:47
If the Mongols came in through Antioch you're fine. There are two "bridges" where troops can walk from the western to the eastern side of the Aegean: the Hellespont and the Dardanelles. Block both with fleets and the Mongols won't be able to cross. You might lose any territory you have on the eastern shore, but you can certainly stop them from getting to the western shore en masse. I'm not sure about the later patches, but the Mongols in the earlier versions were never big naval invaders. They'd build the occasional dhow but I never saw them load troops on them to go anywhere; they'd just march where they wanted to go.

11-10-2007, 08:03
yeah I've found that field armies of 4 Var Guard,6 Guard archers 1,or 2 generals and the rest Vardariotai.I've had some good results with this against Russia and Hungary,as the crossbowmen will follow my light calvary half-way across the map,then I turn and annihilate them,but on another note,do not make war on the papacy. I made the mistake of doing this since I was getting tired of them landing stacks on my doorstep every turn,now I have half the italian penisula trying to re-take Rome which i took away from them,the crusades are next..

11-11-2007, 21:44
yeah I've found that field armies of 4 Var Guard,6 Guard archers 1,or 2 generals and the rest Vardariotai.I've had some good results with this against Russia and Hungary,as the crossbowmen will follow my light calvary half-way across the map,then I turn and annihilate them,but on another note,do not make war on the papacy. I made the mistake of doing this since I was getting tired of them landing stacks on my doorstep every turn,now I have half the italian penisula trying to re-take Rome which i took away from them,the crusades are next..

Well, crusades are something you don't need to worry about, as it is impossible to declare a crusade vs either Byzantium or Russia.

12-21-2007, 22:54
with all due respect to the legion idea above. I'd suggest a good open field formation simply consists of Vards. There is a great guide in this forum.They are easy to acquire in numbers building up there numbers from the start onwards and they utterly decimate with few casualties and extremely favourable capture numbers in most situations and have supreme mobility. Obviously this army is of great deal less utility in settlement fights (although you could handily defeat siege sallys) but I think thats is a role to be filled by and large by a mostly infantry army.

01-29-2008, 17:09
Nice tips guys i shall try them in my next byzantium game.

02-07-2008, 14:51
I tried a different approach than the most posters suggested here, i nmy last Byz game (hard difficulty setting)

Most of you guys agree that Turks must be taken out ASAP. Generally I couldn't agree more but this time my plan was to let them live and pose a significant threat to the Mongols.

1. Married the princess to a hungarian family member - this is an excellent move indeed. It secured me an everlasting peace on the northern flank (past turn 80+, relations took a slight dive but I manage to keep them at 'good' by gifting them $ 200 every now and then).
2. First steps were to secure Sofia (kept as castle), Smyrna (city), Rhodes.
I did not expand at all north of the Black sea or west of it. I let Trebizond to the turks as my goal was to have a chance at preserving peace with them.
3. Then the Venetians thought the Mediteraneean wasn't big enough for the two of us and attacked.
Having few troops to maintain and focusing primarily on developing cash producing and pop growth buildings, fending them off was not an issue as the lands near Constantinople, Sofia, Thessa are good merc recruiting grounds. Mercs were used to repel the invaders and then disbanded.
Took the opportunity to capture Iraklion, long thought by the Roman Emperor as a thorn in the Empire's back. This was mandatory as one of my key tactic was developing and maintaining complete naval supremacy in the eastern Med. and Crete provides spotting and later a powerful naval base.
Obviously, the Pope went nuts on me because I dared challenge his beloved venetians and since those times, I've never had him better than 'abysmal' and 'terrible'.
The venetians occasionally kept sending troops into my lands but were repelled swiftly by Byz mounted warriors pouring from Sofia. Many battles were fought at sea but the Byzantine superiority was overwhelming - stacks of 5-6 powerful fireships sunk everything in sight that had the hated red venetian flag up.
Watchtowers were errected all over the Empire and especially on shores/islands so nobody could sneak any ship past my navy.
4. Relations with the Turks are generally very bad but no military actions took place (80+ turns). It is maybe the Turks have a deep respect for the military superpower ('supreme') and economic powerhouse the Empire has become.
5. Byzantines had in mind to acquire real estate in Palestine and Lebannon but this had to come earlier than expected because the enemy of the true faith (venetians that is) crusaded and took Jerusalem and managed to carve a little Latin Kingdom there by annexing Jeddah as well.
So, a mighty fleet carrying the Emperor himself with a large host of the most combat seasoned greek troops set sail to Antioch (rebel at that time) - think it as an Orthodox Crusade :)
The Emperor captured Antioch but the presence of so many Christian forces in the Middle East upset the Egyptians eventually who chose to declare war on...Byzantines, obviously instead of Venetians :)
Long anticipating this treachery, the Emperor ordered the castle from Cyprus to draft as many troops as possible to support the mid east effort. Aided by reinforcements from Cyprus, the Greeks quickly seized the town of Damascus and the fortress of Acre. Jerusalem, held by the most fierce enemy of the empire - Venetians - was in Emperor's grasp.
Preparations were made and the Holy City fell to the Greeks in one swift assault. Jerusalem, as an oddity, was ordered to build taverns, inns and was to become the main spies and assassins training center of the Empire.
The rich lands in the Mid East were in the hands of greek merchants and this, together with an unseen economic and cultural development across the Empire, made the Greeks the most wealthy power in the game.
The next steps were obvious - Egyptians lost Gaza to a land assault and Alexandria and Cairo to amphib assault. The last remaining city (down south of Cairo) was taken eventually and Egyptians entered history :)
The same fate awaited the remnants of the Latin venetian Kingom in Jeddah. following the loss of their Mid East holdings, crushed at sea by huge stacks (8-10 ships per stack) of XP-ed byzantine ships, having their very home port of Venice blockaded, being attacked by other catholic factions as well, the Venetians sued for peace (75+ turns of war took a heavy toll on them). The Emperor graciously agreed in exchange for the city of Durazzo, which the Venetians agreed to cede. The peace would last for 3-4 turns, Venetians resuming their aggressive actions by blockading a port with some ships quickly destroyed by the greeks. Kinda odd behaviour I may say...

Sicily tried some moves against the empire , mainly at sea but were retaliated brutally - they lost a lot of ships and the castle of Tripoli, a clear indication that if you mess with the bull, you'll get the horns...
I feel like, any western power, if they got the chance, will try to do something ill to the Greeks...keeping good relations with them seems an Utopia at this stage.

Meanwhile, the long term greek strategy paid off...Mongols invaded near Tbilisi and the Turks quickly found themselves involved in an unexpected war with an enemy that knows no mercy...
Surprisingly, the Mongols , for several turns now, were unable to seize any of the Turkish or rebel settlements in the East, laying sieges and eventually lifting them for no apparent reason...So they decided to head north, to the vast steppes of Ukraine and Russia. This fits my plans because now I can take on the Turks, who already have outlived their purpose :)
As for the Mongols...I killed some of their commanders (the Big Bad Khan included) just for fun...and they will soon come across Novgorod and Poland, which should keep them busy for a while.

As the game has played out till now, I have extremely good chances to win following this strategy. I dunno though, if I try the same strategy again, if the Turks will remain so passive. I have this strong feeling that if you leave certain provinces alone (Adana, Trebizond and cities in the eastern mountains) they don;t think you as the no#1 priority...

02-09-2008, 01:32
I found the most useful unit while playing as Byzantium to be,
Byzantine Cavalary and Trebizond Archers.

The reason is that they are not that expensive for what you get. Byzantine cavalry is capable for taking out archer units, and for riding around and en-circling the enemy's melee units. For my infanty-line i use a mix of Spearmen and Byzantine Infantry.
Trebizond archers are also very useful because they are inexpensive, and can be utilized as 'melee' units when the situation is getting a bit desperate.

Usually my byzantine army would be as follows.



General (and two units of Byzantine infantry/ or Cav)

03-24-2008, 16:32
I am new to MTW2 but since I got the game I have played 4-5 campaign games as the Byzantines up to ~1250-1300AD.
I followed several suggestions from this forum with very good results up until the Mongols arrive.
In every campaign game I have played the Mongols have proven to be unbeatable and they have crushed all the armies I have sent against them.
I should mention that I mostly auto resolve battles (takes too long on my computer and I am still horrible at it).
I have tried various diplomatic and military strategies to avoid becoming their target but they have all failed. (I have given border regions to the Pope and HRE hoping the Mongols would go for them and leave me alone, have built castles with archers and missile cavalry and spearmen, etc.) I suspect they are programmed to attack the strongest faction or the faction with the most regions and that usually happens to be Byzantium in my games.

I was looking for any suggestions from the veterans how do best deal with the Mongols in auto resolve mode?

I have used one of the cheats to add money and was able to beat them back but I had to stack 3-4 armies with good generals against one of theirs in every battle.

(I have not gotten as far as the Timurids but I hate to even think about that).

03-26-2008, 20:13
Autoresolving battles with Mongols can prove to be very costly, but if you DO choose to do so, do it with overwhelming numbers of cheap trash troops (think acrher/spear/Cavlry militia) at a ratio of at least 4:1. Expect to lose all that trash but make a sizable dent in mongol stacks. Use your top quality troops at sieges, bridges and (even better) unbridged river crossings. All that Mongol heavy cavalry amounts to little more than horsemeat if caught by Varangians in the middle of the river.

03-31-2008, 15:11
Never ever use autoresolve against the Mongols if the army contains their original troops. The autoresolve function is basically a number crunch. It's apparently heavily weighted in favor of numbers and experience. The first is usually a disadvantage for cavalry, as mounted units are smaller in size, but all the original Mongol invasion troops have something like 6 xp! The result is that you will almost always be crushed if you use the computer to resolve it.

Now, if you cannot fight the battles out yourself for whatever reason, then I have to agree with RVG. Build your armies as full stacks of big infantry units like spear militia or Byzantine Spearmen, keep multiple stacks together, and then resolve it. You'll take horrific losses, but those troops are pretty cheap to replace, and you at least have a decent chance of winning.

If you can fight out the battles, then the Byzantines can give the Mongols a serious challenge on the field. I've beaten them in an open field battle with an army of 2 generals, 2 kataphractoi, and 16 assorted horse archers, but there's no way to fight that battle without losing a lot of troops. It works out better if defending a bridge or a ford.

03-31-2008, 22:35
Has anyone ever tried simply being a vassal to the Papal States (for a very hefty fee)? That way, the Pope is charged with "protecting" you and any attack on you would be an attack on him. This should lead to immunity from attacks from the Catholic factions, unless they want to be excommunicated.

Then make every crusading Catholic faction (except maybe Venice) who passes through Byzantine territory on their way to the Middle East your ally. Then you can use all of their armies to recover all the lost territory of the original Eastern Roman Empire.

Any thoughts?

04-17-2008, 19:33
this my first campaign for a while, i have decided to consolidate the Balkans by eliminating factions which attack me, in the 60s and Venice is dead, the Vampires are soon to follow, them i shall halt on the rivers which are a natural frontier. at that point it is time to consolidate religion, mop up rebels, build some forts. sack-cash from Budapest Venice Iconium 'n Vienna is keeping the old empire ticking over nicely. religious unrest is a problem as the latins are conquered. the frontier is locked into a permanent state of religious strife. things will be better when Venice attains 40% 'Doxy.

vards are so good, they are so agile, and even a basic infantry force of spear and trebizond bow will win with these hot horsemen nippin' round the flanks and carving up the enemys' arse from that oblique angle old boy. Have at 'em lads!

however horsemen do sufer with auto resolve, the basileus lacks lancersin the early game.

naval dominance is vital. seal off the aegean, the black sea and the adriatic. if a hostile fleet gets in then you can play ping-pong with the piratical scumbags and bounce them from one fleet to the next until they are truly scuppered!

04-18-2008, 13:56
Never ever use autoresolve against the Mongols if the army contains their original troops. The autoresolve function is basically a number crunch. It's apparently heavily weighted in favor of numbers and experience. The first is usually a disadvantage for cavalry, as mounted units are smaller in size, but all the original Mongol invasion troops have something like 6 xp! The result is that you will almost always be crushed if you use the computer to resolve it.

Now, if you cannot fight the battles out yourself for whatever reason, then I have to agree with RVG. Build your armies as full stacks of big infantry units like spear militia or Byzantine Spearmen, keep multiple stacks together, and then resolve it. You'll take horrific losses, but those troops are pretty cheap to replace, and you at least have a decent chance of winning.

If you can fight out the battles, then the Byzantines can give the Mongols a serious challenge on the field. I've beaten them in an open field battle with an army of 2 generals, 2 kataphractoi, and 16 assorted horse archers, but there's no way to fight that battle without losing a lot of troops. It works out better if defending a bridge or a ford.
thanks for the advice. I am now able to fight the Mongols and sometimes win. I've played several campaigns as the Byzantines and the HRE. I've tried different strategies of fending off the Mongols and Timurids (giving border regions to the Pope and other factions right before they arrive, or leaving the Turks around so they have to fight them first) but it seems that that no matter what i do they are simply programmed to go after the stronger/richest(?) faction at the time. As the Byzantines they came to Antioch and into Asia Minor. As the HRE they went to Kiev and came into central Europe. Of course, they never accept a ceasefire. Has anyone found a clever trick of keeping them at arms length without having their treasury drained by the endless wars?
I love this game but I am getting a bit disenchanted because it always comes to "how badly will the Mongols/Timurids beat you up?".

04-18-2008, 14:35
River crossings. My first campaign, as the Byzantines, I held the Mongols off on the bridges. I owned Iasi, which I had as a city. The army standing on the bridge consisted of 6 units of Byzantine Infantry, 4 units of Byzantine Guard Archers, 1 trebuchet, 1 general, and 8 assorted horse archers. I lined up 3 units of infantry across the edge of the bridge, with 3 more directly behind them, and all 6 in guard mode. When the battle started, they'd advance directly to the edge of the bridge from the deployment line. The foot archers would line up on a hill where they could fire down onto the bridge. The horse archers would do the same. The treb was set to fire rotting cows, and I'd wait until the Mongols started crossing to begin firing.

I'd always manage to eventually land a dead cow in the middle of the bridge, which meant every Mongol unit would be affected by it. I used the horse archers to chase down any routers that came through my side of the bridge, and didn't pursue any routers across the bridge until the battle was won. In some cases the Mongols would have 2-3 stacks, so there's be a pause after I'd broken the first army but the next hadn't yet arrived, and then I'd switch off the lead infantry.

After the battle was over, I'd use the nearby city and fortress to replenish losses.

04-19-2008, 09:04
Yeah when I played them I won 60% of me battles using vards to harass the enemy all the way up the field,then finishing it off with a rain of arrows from the Guard archers,plus a calv charge from behind,with my vardf if needed.

04-20-2008, 16:36
Yeah when I played them I won 60% of me battles using vards to harass the enemy all the way up the field,then finishing it off with a rain of arrows from the Guard archers,plus a calv charge from behind,with my vardf if needed.
I think I found something about the Mongols (it may have been mentioned before). It seems that if you have four full stacks close together the Mongols seem to too timid to attack. I had four full stacks of varying quality near Nicea. As long as I had them close together the Mongols kept going back and forth but never attacked. As soon as I moved two of the stacks to defend against the Timurid jihad against Constantinople the Mongols attacked. I put the stacks back and they seemed to shy away from attacking Nicea. If you wait them out long enough they will slowly decay in strength so you can pick them off one stack at a time. It's a "containment" policy but it seemed to work this time.

04-22-2008, 10:14
Here's a question: had anyone has Constantinople rebel within the first 20 or 30 turns? I've played as the byzzies many times but my most recent game is the first I've ever seen it do that,and it hurt my wallet something severe,at one point I was - 11118 florins,until I re-took and sacked it,then I took the turkish citadel of Caesarea and exterminated that,so my budget's looking better,if my damn cities would stop trying to kick me out as soon as I moved the tax rate off "low".

I suspect spies in my cities.

Hoping that some public buildings will improve them to the point where I can start making some cash now,as the Venetians have attempted to invade 4 times,and been kicked out 4 times,also hoping that the alliances I have with the polish,Hungarians and milanese will keep them tied up for a bit.

04-23-2008, 14:45
I never had Constantinople rebel. It is usually a cash cow for me. You have to keep building farms, trade buildings, and also barracks etc. and maintain a good garrison.
One thing I do is build a couple of fleets and close off the straits on both sides (Aegean and Black Sea). That stops all merchants, diplomats and foreign armies from crossing over to Asia Minor and causing trouble (unless I allow them).
As for the Turks I found that you can easily destroy them in the first few turns if you take Iconium quickly and then Ceasarea as soon as possible. But you may want to keep the Turks alive as a buffer against the Mongols. If you take Iconium and then offer them a ceasefire in exchange for Trabezon there is a high probability they will give it to you without a fight.

Marius Dynamite
07-23-2008, 02:47

I am in the midst of a VH/VH campaign as the Byzantine Empire. I decided to do this campaign with the goal being to reconquer the Roman Empire. It was very very tough to get were I am now @ around the 1280's. I've wrote down the basics of what I done. I should point out I am writing this out of recent memory without anything written down so I could have forgot a few little details. This is also a big read which is why its in spoil tags.

It was clear early on that the neighboring catholic factions, Hungary, Venice, Sicily were looking toward the weakening Byzantine Empire as a place to expand into. The Venetians and Sicilians posed the greatest threat as they had good early infantry units which were superior to my own.

My own economy was poor and not fit to fund a war on potentially 3 fronts, i.e. Greece against Italians, Macedonia against Hungarians and The Turks in Asia Minor. I secured an alliance with the Turks and set up Watchtowers on the borders so I could prepare for an invasion if they looked likely to betray me.

Diplomats were also sent to the Hungarians in order to secure an alliance with them. The funds generated from trade with these people would also prove crucial in a lengthy war with the Italians.

The decision was taken to reform the Byzantine military into 3 horse archer based armies led by Byzantines finest generals. The horse archer armies would be made mainly of Byzantine cavaly with around 20% being the elite Vardar horse archers. This would allow the entire destruction of catholic infantry based armies as they marched through the mountains of Greece.

With the recruitment of these armies near completion the decision was taken to launch a quick war with the ill-prepared Egyptians. Emperor Alexius and Prince John were sent with around half the professional military force to capture Alexandria and Cairo. The bulk of the Egyptian army was caught unaware by the amphibious assault and they were dealt a decisive and crushing victory near Alexandria. In the following turns both Cities were captured and sacked. The Egyptians were so badly hurt they would never be able to launch a land attack on Cairo and Alexandria and peace was agreed a few turns later.

My major mistake here was deciding not to finish off the Egyptians who had almost no military left and held only Gaza and possibly Jerusalem. I needed the army sent to Egypt to fight back the Sicilians, who had Corinth under siege, and the Venetians who were advancing on Thessalonica.

A decisive victory pushed the Sicilians out of Greece but the Venetians proved much more resolute. Despite them taking heavy losses to my horse archer forces they continuously poured more and more troops at me. Eventually I managed to annihilate their invading forces but as I planned an advance on Ragusa the Sicilians sent their Norman Knights at Corinth and destroyed the defenders there.

All this time I had been carefully managing my economy, building farm upgrades and ports in all my major cities. I had captures Rhodes and Iraklion, converted Rhodes to a city along with Cyprus to increase my income. As I upgraded my economy upgrades became more expensive. This became a strain on my dwindling income and it was preventing me constructing suffient military forces to inflicet fatal blows on the italians.

I managed however to drive the Sicilians back out of Greece and launched a successful invasion of Southern Italy capturing Naples after a lengthy siege. (My army was the veterans of the Egyptian campaign led by now Emperor John, an entire horse archer army). With the Sicilians on the backfoot I pressed on and drove them out of Sicily. At this point they were effectively destroyed however they still held territories in a small colony elsewhere, perhaps Africa, I never found out. Later it was reported they has been conquered by another Kingdom.

After the destruction of Sicily the plunder gained was used to upgrade Cairo and Constantinople and purchase various other upgrades to the Empire. Some was also reinvested in the strained military.

This brief period of fortune for the Byzantine Empire was exactly that, brief. The Pope was reeling after the invasion of Southern Italy and Sicily and seen it as a direct attack on himself. Add to that the conversion of half of Italy to Orthodox Christianity and his declaration of war by an attack on Naples is almost justified!

The Pope also managed to unite the nearby Catholic factions into a coalition against the Byzantine Empire. These include the Holy Roman Empire, Venice, Milan, Spain (not so close) and Hungary. Despite being good allies to the Hungarians they chose to side with the their fellow Catholics.

So began The Italian Wars.

Although I had built a significant Naval Force in the Aegean and around Italy, I was still only a strong nation and not a superpower and could not match the naval power of the United Catholics. Hungarys massive fleets sailed from the Black sea and blockaded all my ports while the HRE, Milan and Venice dealt with my fleet in Italy.

The blocking of my ports caused an economic crash. I can't quite remember what year we are at now, but I think it is 1130's - 1140's.

Initial invasions of Southern Italy and Sicily were successfully repulsed. As the economy began to start up again I retrained my army in Sicily and recruited my own version of Dismounted Knights from the population of Palermo. This force successfully invaded and capture Rome after around 50 years of fighting. I had been fighting a largely defensive battle in Greece against the Hungarians, and Constantinople itself also had to be defended.

Around the time of Romes capture the Egyptians, still not a significant land force, had a vast navy, perhaps the 3rd largest in the eastern med after the Venetians and Milanese. They blockaded Cyprus and Alexandria. This is why I said my mistake earlier was not to destroy them when I had the chance. I now had to create an army in Egypt, by this time totally assimilated into the empire, and launch an assault on Jerusalem, the new Egyptian capital. This invasion was an incomprehendable success and the funds gained from the victory allowed me to push back the Venetians all the way to Zagreb and finally inflict a fatal blow on the Papal States force in Italy by capturing Florence.

It was not all a succesful war however as the Milanese, who had established a vast empire in France, routed my armies in Sicily and only sued for peace when I blunted their invasion of southern Italy.

With the economy now booming because of all the money I had been putiing into it all this time the Byzantine Empire became a true Superpower. Later campaigns have seen the capture of Venice, which was largely underdeveloped, the destruction of Hungary and the capture of all of Asia minor from the Turks who had betrayed our 150 year alliance to join a Jihad against Constantinople.

The Turks still hold some territory in the Middle East after being ravaged by the Mongol Invasion. The Mongols now hold Antioch and share a border with me at Acre and Damascus. They are yet to make a move against me. I have strengthed my forces significantly in Gaza, Acre, Damascus and Jerusalem to destroy any invasion before it can reach Cairo, my largest city. Likewise military force as Caesarea are being upgraded to repel any attack towards Constantinople.

A second War with the powerful Milanese/HRE alliance has broken out as they attempt to drive me out of Italy. My power now is unmatched and the empire can defeat all the nations in the known world at once. I have sent armies with my powerful new Knights, the Latikon to invade the HRE heartlands wjile forces have been dispatched to recapture Sicily form the Milanese as well as invade Sardinia and corsica and close a noose around the great city of Milan.

The date is around 1280's

Also another note I should add. I have used espionage to great success through this campaign. In Egypt my missionaries converted around 70% of the Jerusalem population to Orthodox during the second war with Egypt. I also have at least 5 super merchants at Egypt at any 1 time generating a massive 2000 florins per turn. They sit on the 3 sugar resources around Cairo and the 2 ivory depositis at the very southern point of the nile. Assassins have also played a major role. I have vet assassins in Hungary, Italy and Egypt constantly killing Imams, priests and enemy generals to keep my Wars running smoothly.

I'll post some Screenshots if anyone wants to see!

Gray Beard
09-19-2008, 10:19
[QUOTE=Nikitaras;1895168]thanks for the advice. I am now able to fight the Mongols and sometimes win. I've played several campaigns as the Byzantines and the HRE. I've tried different strategies of fending off the Mongols and Timurids (giving border regions to the Pope and other factions right before they arrive, or leaving the Turks around so they have to fight them first) but it seems that that no matter what i do they are simply programmed to go after the stronger/richest(?) faction at the time. As the Byzantines they came to Antioch and into Asia Minor. As the HRE they w

09-22-2008, 12:54
Trick #5: Use the regroup/retreat feature (Right mouse click) of the campaign map and setup a location that your stack will retreat to without running into another Mongol stack. This is really important because it preserves your forces and keeps them near enough to support each other if you lose. You have to avoid playing auto resolve ping-pong and having the same stack losing multiple times in one turn.

What's this regroup/retreat feature? Can you elaborate more? I always thought this feature would be useful but I never found it in the manual! Is it available on vanilla?

Gray Beard
09-26-2008, 11:57
The rally point feature on the campaign map is not actually available in vanilla. I'm sorry I didn't know that because I play the "Long Road" mod

To use it in the mod you place the cursor at the rally spot press and hold alt and right click

Gray Beard
09-26-2008, 11:57
What's this regroup/retreat feature? Can you elaborate more? I always thought this feature would be useful but I never found it in the manual! Is it available on vanilla?

Actually I thought it was part of the Vanilla game but I just started one up to see and it isn't. I normally play the "Long Road" mod. What an egregious oversight by this game's designers!

To use this function in that mod you press and hold the ALT key and the right click

Gray Beard
09-26-2008, 11:59
As far as I know it is in the vanilla though I normally play "The Long Road"

To use the function mouse over the location you want to set as a rally point press the "ALT" key and right click. Doing this makes units tha tlose auto resolve battles retreat to that location. It keeps units from losing and then retreating into another battle and then into another battle and so on until there is nobody left to retreat with.

Alexander: The hellenic empire
10-08-2008, 20:26
I am a great fan of Byzantium and have always played with this faction.


I usually set a defence along the Greek border (Thessalonika, Corinth) to defend from both Venician and Hungarian assaults, paying attention to any surprise Hungarian attack on Costantinople. I found that due to the small amount of armies possible to recruit it is very useful to have many spies in the Balcans in order to not be taken by surprize by any (especially Hungarian) offences.

In my current campaign however I converted Corinth into a city a garrisonned it with the maximum amount of troops. I did the same for Thessalonika. Instead of fighting the Turks I went North to take the CRIMEAN peninsula and then to take KIEV and finally IASI the large northern castle of the Hungarians.

This worked perfectly and made me crush the Hungarians (not entirely because a Jihad was called against Constantinople). After my attack from the North the Hungarians were no longer a threat for me, and instead they acted as a cuscion state when the Mongols invaded.

So the Hungarians actually helped me fight the Mongols instead of being my greatest foe throughout the game, as they usually are.


I admitt I was playing on High - High difficulty instead of their "Very High" counterparts, however.


02-14-2009, 21:54
I can't get the fix for Varangian guard to load, it is the one that was posted as version 1.1. Anyone have any ideas?

04-30-2010, 11:43
Altough i'm Polish i'm a big fan of the Byzantines. I don't know why but i really like their troops, and their map position.

I usually use: 6 Biz. Guard Archers, 4 Dis. Latinkon, 2 Dis. Biz. Lancers or Varangian Guard, 4 Vards, General, 2-4 flanking Cav, and some ballistas (which have a very accurate shot ans i really love to use them)

I play really differnet then most of you. I tend to leave Anatolia and the muslim factions alone.
I would probably leave the pannisula altogether but Nicea is just too good money maker just to abbandon it early. So i keep it and take also Smyrna and make it a castle, then i take Rhodes and make it a city just like i do with Crete.
Then i make some nice stacks of navy and block the paths between asia and Constantinopole, which leaves me with just one west to look at.
I take the emperor and blitz Sophia, Bucarest and Iasi. Iasi i make a castle. The rest cities. It's hard at the beginning but it's managable.
Iasi as a castle with some river crossings near is a perfect place to defend my second eastern border.
Now it's time to take care of the western factions. At the beginning i make a marriage betwenn my princes and the Polish prince... right the Polish... why? cos Hungarians are doomed within the cople next turns. Bran and Budapest are taken quickly, and the faction becomes rebel. i change Budapest to castle if it's possible, if not i leave a large garrison there, this will be me NW border, the city produces little trade as the area has no resources so i concentrate on the military aspects here. Bran i would change to a city or leave it be as a secondary fortress for fast unit production. In the west the Venetians are knocking to you for quite some time by now, especially if you take Durazzo quick as i did.
The key here is their fortress Ragusa. Take it and then kill off their militia with Vards. I make Ragusa a city making Zagreb a Castle to complete my NW border. The last thing is to take Iraklion, but it's obvious.
By now i have like 200000 florins and sit secure in my territory. The alliance with the Poles is strong and it never broke. Especially if you take some minor rebel lands and give it to them.
If the HRE starts to bother you sack and pillage Vienna and then give it to the Pope or the Poles. If you have some princesses always marry them to Polish princes.
This should secure you in Europe forever.
What you do next is up to you. Usually i jump Sicily and the "italian" isles. Then go For Tunis and march throug the Moors.

As for the "hordes". If they go for Constantinopole you hace the passages blocked by navy so only Nicea and Smyrna are in danger. You can try to defend them or let them fall. Your total income wont suffer form it. If they go for the north steppes you have Ias supported by Bran and surrounded by rivers, should be managable to defend.

You should really ally with the Poles, you will have at least 2-3 common enemies. You could try alliance with the Pope especially after some tribute and giving him some lands. Will secure you from the crusades against you. I ally also with the Turks as i don't plan to invade their lands. They usually keep their word for several years.

As for Byz pros:
- great HtH and Missile Infantry
- great early navy
- decent to uber cavalry
- one of the best economic potential
- not boring to play :)

As for Byz cons:
- very weak spear units
- no good gunpowder units
- can't do Jihads or Crusades
- multiple enemies

where's yur troosers
06-21-2010, 16:35
I love playing as Byzantium. You are surrounded by potential enemies and will be outclassed later in the game, but an agressive start will give you the bedrock for a formidable empire that nobody will be able to withstand regardless of their final troop mix. I play H/M.

I like a northern border of Sophia and Ragussa. You can reach the former before the Hungarians if you start out immediately. Follow up with your princess to secure an alliance (I had to offer them 100 a turn for 6 years or so which marked their card) and they will stay peaceable for quite some time.

The Venitians will come knocking and your key to repulsing their initial foreys and capturing their territories are your horse archers. Use your general and vards to smash thier missile troops then shoot their spears to pieces. I managed to clock up several heroic victories and a good deal of experience for my troops. on the way. In my most recent game I had planned to stop at Ragussa and let them blunt themselves on it, but found it easier to take them in the field and thereby made my way to Venice itself which led to a dilema - keep it an prepare for a long Italian war (fun but draining) or give it to an ally who has no real counter to horse archers in case they betray you - or you them. I chose to hold it, but the Danes or Scots would have been my other preference.

In the East hit the Turks with everything you have got. Either wipe them out or accept their offer of a ceasefire when you are certian they will not be a threat ever again, but will detain the Mongols a bit later on.

I press on against Egypt and by turn 50 aim to be rid of them. You can then mop up rebel territories and have a monumentally rich empire. I turn Rhodes, Cypress, Samyra, Corinth and Adana to cities with others to follow later, but leave several castles near Antioch or Kiev and find that one stuffed with trezibond archers and lowly (and they are) byzantine spearmen can make a big dent in a Mongol army. Obviously you have much better troops available to hold bridges and mountain passes.

Lucius Verus
07-12-2010, 18:59
one of my favourite faction

07-20-2010, 07:48
CBUR (Complete Byzantine Unit Roster) project aims to recreate accuratly the armies for three main eras.
7th to 9th century,10th to 11th one and finally 12th to 15th century.
Here is a work of ours (https://forums.totalwar.org/vb/showthread.php?129078-Coplete-Byzantine-Unit-roster-project-presents-Thematic-Armies&p=2515123&viewfull=1#post2515123).

08-05-2010, 21:59
Posting again after a 5 year hiatus =)

I am a Byzantine and general med/ancient history obsessive. Time Life book by Philip Sheridan (props to Sir Robin for mentioning this), John Julian Norwich's trilogy, have all fired my purple imagination down the years.

The Byzantine campaign on the hardest level, although engrossing and somewhat challenging, is eminently beatable and very accomplishing once done so. It's very stressing at times on account of low money, few troops and multiple fronts, but the joy/sense of achievement, after victory is sweet indeed.

I did the following within 50 turns (100 years) and I think it's fairly standard:

- Conquered all of Egypt, Asia Minor, Middle East (including Tibilisi and Yerevan), Balkans (including Budapest and Vienna), Poland, Livonia, Kiev, Italy (except Genoa), Cagliari, North Africa and Sicily.
- Eliminated Sicily, Venice, Hungary, Poland,
- Reduced Milan, Egypt, Turks to one or two provinces (places like Jeddah, Sarkel, Ajaccio)
- Reduced Papal states to merely the pope's army and few inquisitors.
- Put HRE and Moors firmly on the back foot.

Eventually the Mongols showed up but despite some initial losses, I had consigned them to scraps after 20 turns.

Now I am waiting for the Timurids, with the entire map, except, Spain, Britain and Timbuktu, in the purple.

Notable family features:

- Anna Comnena managed to marry Istvan, the Hungarian heir, early and add him to my family. This gave me a decent general to 'open up' the Balkans with.

- Istvan conquered and defended Sofia, Bucharest, Budapest and Vienna. I was convinced his potential sons would continue the royal bloodline but he died in battle against the Poles, outside Thorn, childless but glorious.

- Alexius, emperor and an excellent general, conquered Smyrna, Iconium, Ceasarea, Adana, Antioch, Aleppo, Damascus and Edessa; all the while beating back multiple Turkish and Egyptian armies.

- His son and successor John continued the Eastern onslaught, adding Mosul, Baghdad, Damascus, Jerusalem and Gaza. John's adopted sons, Manuel Cerularius and Athanasios Branas, brought Tibilisi, Yerevan, Trebizond; and Egypt; respectively, back into the Byzantine fold.

- John's brother Isaac was entrusted with defending the Adriatic coast against Papal, Milanese, Venetian and Sicilian invasions. Despite lacking adequate man power and the support of a navy, he gave better than he got and after beating of annual invasions from the aforementioned factions, secured the eastern flank by conquering Zagreb and Venice while stabilising Durazzo and Ragusa. He was then sent North to subdue and defend Vienna and Budapest while Istvan and Isaac's adopted sons, Constantine Dragas and Nikephorus Melissenus pressed north of the Danube.

- The youngest brother Andronicus, mopped up the Balkans behind Istvan and Isaac befire strengthening at Bran and then wheeling North East, annexing the southern Russian Steppe, Iasi, Kiev and Halych. Although always victorious against the Russians, despite always being outnumbered, his only defeat came in his last battle. Sallying against the Grand Duke Miloslav's double stack army outside Kiev, he met his match and was felled by two corps of Druzhina, having decided to flank the Russian besiegers but getting caught in their midst.

- Thanks to Isaac's stellar work in tying down the eastern front, later generals like Athanasios Glykys, Leo Phocas (no better name pedigree) and John Bryennius were able to launch successful invasions of Naples, Sicily, Tripoli, Tunis and Cagliari. All the while allowing other family members to push down on Northern Italy while trapping the Pope in a pincer movement.

Campaign features

- I had no navy to speak of with my few ships always getting mopped up and flung to the far reaches of the Mediterranean. This explained the multiple invasions on multiple fronts on an annual basis.

- Since everyone attacked me right at the outset (except the Turks, whom I attacked), I had no trade income and my yearly margins were always red.

- So, I constantly sold cities to HRE, Poland, Papal States, Milan and Egypt before immediately conquering them back and sacking them. This windfall, although reducing the building level in the city gave me instant cash. In addition the troops and generals got various experience, looting, engineering, attacking and dread bonuses.

- I started using spies and assassins in bulk, this allowed me to conquer cities quicker and increased my emperor's dread, authority and public law attributes, generally making my empire more loyal.

Military features

- Byz Spear, Militias and peasants make great garrison troops. The former can even hold off some decent siege forces especially when cramped in a choke point. Spearmen and Militia can even hold off an enemy for a while on the open battle field, allowing cavalry to encircle the enemy and charge home.

- Skythikon are unsung heroes, Byz Cavalry even more so and together their movement, missile attack and charge are excellent supplements to the general's bodyguard and Vardaratoi.

- Spread your cavalry out, flank and encircle the enemy at every opportunity. Once arrows are used up, tight formation, switch off skirmish mode and charge.

- Whenever possible, sally, even if you are unable to break the army, the losses they take will ensure that their assault will be weak.

- The Byz, with a decent general, can more than hold their own against the Mongols. Be positive, micro manage, move and be dogged.

- Byz infantry and dismounted lancers, are excellent against Western Infantry, especially with a couple of experience chevrons.


- When selling a settlement, always ask for an outright payment over tribute, always barter by raising the amount in small increments.

- Even if they cannot buy it, give it to them as a gift. The cash bonus from sacking the settlement will more than compensate the loss in income for a turn or two.

- Train assassins by killing rebel army generals on an annual basis.

- Place your missile cavalry behind the enemy general. While you skirmish and wait for his army to attack, his corps of bodyguards will be weakened or wiped out completely. This is especially useful for the Mongols. Once the general dies, the morale and experience bonuses disappear and his troops are quite beatable.

11-11-2010, 03:46
I cant personally understand why everyone has so much trouble wity the mongols im so teched up by the time they arrive and have a massive economy that they dont seem to be that difficult to defeat. The varangian guard, byz guard archers, vards & archontopoulai seem more than a match for anything that comes into Roman territory from this lot. I always weight for the Turks & Egyptians to weaken both empires against this lot before sweeping all before me in the middle east.

11-21-2010, 04:05
I don't find dismounted lancers to be reliable in battle,as mine always seemed to break quickly when I used them to hold a position while my archers rained death on the enemy. I found myself using a mix of Byz inf and varangian guard instead,as they are more reliable in my opnion at least and easier to retrain as well.