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RTW Favourites: Wardogs

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There are a number of things - units, tactics, nations, buildings, strategies - that I seem to have a certain weakness for when I play Rome: Total War. One of the most obvious that applies to many teams and can be used for a majority of the game is the Wardogs unit.

If you're the type of person to play the Total Realism mod or in other ways feel strongly about your game being realistic, you're probably pretty turned off by the iea of using Wardogs units, other than perhaps when you're the big bad barbarian tribes ambushing the romans in the deep forests of Germania, but luckily, I'm not that kind of player. I play my R:TW unmodded and always on the hardest difficulty, and I'm willing to use uncanonical unit in a tight spot (or if I otherwise feel like it, of course ).

... And there are lots of situations where using Wardogs can be useful. For those of you who aren't that much into Wardogs or simply haven't tried using them yet, a unit of Wardogs consist of 24 men, each responsible for 3 of the 72 dogs in the unit (normal size armies). Once the unit gets within a certain range (shorter than archery range but longer than skirmisher throwing range), the men release their dogs to attack the targetted enemy. Once this has happened, you can no longer command the dogs around; they attack until they cannot find more enemies or are slain. This means that you can command the remaining 24 men of the unit back behind your troops to keep them out of danger. The reason that this is so smart is because...

The wardogs are replenished every battle - just like ammo, the dogs are replaced in the unit after battle. This means that you can lose all of the 72 dogs from a unit in a battle and have 72 brand new dogs ready for battle the next turn - or even later the same turn! This is because the unit only really consists of the 24 men. For each man killed, the unit will have three dogs less to send into battle (a unit with 17 men would have 51 dogs, per example). So as long as you keep the core of the Wardogs unit out of trouble, you have an unlimited supply of living, homeseeking, biting arrows that are replenished for free.

The Wardogs unit also has an extremely low upkeep compared to how much damage it can do, because, unlike in most other units, there is only 24 people to pay.

The dogs are obviously not well-armoured, and as such have a low defensive value, but they can do some serious damage, especially to lightly armoured foes. Because of this in addition to their speed (which is faster than infantry but slower than cavalry in run), and the fact that it is kind of difficult to actually target the dogs (your units will sometimes take this as an order to chase the men of the wardogs unit, exposing themselves to the dogs' jaws), it makes them extremely efficient against units such as light cavalry, ranged units and light infantry - if you can get them close to these without having your precious unitcore killed!

The last few things are actually more glitches and flaws than actual game issues. First of all, Wardogs can sometimes pass through walls or gates - I have found that this is especially true for wooden palisades. Also, the AI tends to paly defensively whe outnumbered or defending a city, which allows you to "Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war", allowing your replacible wardogs to grind down the teeth of the enemy forces before attacking.

What are your opinions on wardogs?

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  1. Thermal's Avatar
    Hmm, I do tend to mod my game, but unmodded, tend to be put off them due to them taking 2 turns to recruit, plus I always manage to get the men killed (which means the dogs are dead too), they have low upkeep which is useful, but have never found there that efficient, with the speed of medium cavalry yet with no apparent charge bonus, I don't use them much (or at least I didn't when I played it ) .
  2. Beefy187's Avatar
    I played EB (Unfortunately uninstalled to install to try out RTR. But will be back soon as Asia Ton Barbarorum comes out). Much as I love the realism of both mods or the fact that EB doesn't have ridiculously over powered cavalry, I do miss some unrealistic aspects of RTW. One of that being the wardogs.

    I really found them useful and I adore them. They are useful attacking weak enemies without taking a single casualty.
    I always like the sight of 0 casualty on my side.
  3. Ibn-Khaldun's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Beefy
    I always like the sight of 0 casualty on my side.
    Me too.

    That's why I always try to take out as many enemies with archers and slingers.
  4. Diamondeye's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Ibn-Khaldun
    Me too.

    That's why I always try to take out as many enemies with archers and slingers.
    Funny you should mention these. One of my other pet peeves is elite ranged units. I'll touch on that on the next entry...
  5. sg_hariharan's Avatar

  6. Centurion1's Avatar
    i never really liked them. i have a tendency to lose my handlers and they always seem to dfie really fast, i can see the usefulness in city battles though.
  7. Cute Wolf's Avatar
    I just loved that my elite swordsmen just become line holder... for my dog hordes to finish
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