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Thread: Defensive campaigns

  1. #1
    Member Member PBI's Avatar
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    Default Defensive campaigns

    It occurs to me that in every campaign I've ever done I have followed the same basic strategy: A quick campaign to seize the nearby rebel settlements, followed by a brief pause to build a decent army, and then a major strike against my most dangerous neighbour, putting them out of the game. I then usually find that with the cities and resources of two factions under my belt, I have a decisive advantage and can attack at will for the rest of the campaign. I barely ever have to defend except against the Mongols. I don't think I've ever fought a bridge defense against anyone else, and even siege defenses seem to me to be a rarity.

    I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions for a faction I could choose for a more defensive type of campaign, i.e. where I would start off relatively strong, but come under attack from my neighbours a lot and be forced to defend rather than attack for most of the campaign, as I much prefer defending to attacking. I was thinking maybe England in Britannia, but if anyone has any suggestions for the Grand Campaign that'd be great; it seems to me all the factions lend themselves to an attacking campaign.

  2. #2
    Medevil Member Dead Guy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Defensive campaigns

    Byzantium has a lot of fronts, are strong fairly early, and has a pretty strong and flexible roster up until gun powder. You can set up a nice frontier on the three or so rivercrossings to the north and west of Sofia if you want to expand that far. Perhaps if you leave Anatolia (if that's the correct name for modern day Turkey) and stay in Greece it might be interesting.

    I find it a test to my patience playing like that, I've often planned to do it, but then wonderful opportunities arise that I cannot refrain from taking advantage of. I also want to keep my generals busy and skilled, which leaves little room for peace or waiting for the AI to come to you, at least in oh so boring vanilla where the AI attacks once and then goes away for ever.

    Good luck!

  3. #3
    Majuk Pythons Member I˝nsom˝ni's Avatar
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    Default Re: Defensive campaigns

    I have never played an entirely offensive campaign, i always like to just build up an economy and see what the AI can throw at me, if i go on a crusade, i give everything to the papal states, if i am offered a ceasefire, i will accept, if i am offered a decent proposal, i will accept, i ally with the entire map...

    For defensive tactics, i would suggest keeping all of your broder cities well garrisoned, with forts guarding strategic positions, also a balanced economy is vital, i always seem to be building more soldiers than i can support, so i hav to keep my armies very small, and only guarding strategic positions. Also your major concern should be of a good spot, i tend to fight off everything to my rear so i am against the sea, so i can expect no attacks from a certain side.

    Bridges, always play defensively, if you do go over send cavalry, and waste your catapults ammo burning the soldiers on the other side of the river.

    I have never actually done an offensive campaign, my only exception was when i sacked the cities i attacked and let them rebel, so that doesnt really count...
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Defensive campaigns

    If you have no objections to downloading a mod, you should download stainless steel 5.1 with all the extra mods the community there supplies. Then play as lithuania on vh/vh and you will have one hell of a campaign.

  5. #5
    Ranting madman of the .org Senior Member Fly Shoot Champion, Helicopter Champion, Pedestrian Killer Champion, Sharpshooter Champion, NFS Underground Champion Rhyfelwyr's Avatar
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    Default Re: Defensive campaigns

    For the vanilla campaign, the HRE are surrounded by factions of the same religion and even start with a Pope-o-meter penalty. They face two strong factions in Hungary and especially Poland, and will get the inevitable xbow half-stacks from Milan once they expand a bit.

    If you resist the urge to do a askthepizzaguy blitz and win after 7 turns, the HRE can come under attack from a variety of factions.
    Last edited by Rhyfelwyr; 04-07-2008 at 18:58.
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  6. #6

    Default Re: Defensive campaigns

    Denmark starts in a very good defensive and economic position. If you take Oslo and Stockholm quickly you can actually have a build que, a decent stack for defense and make a profit from just your 1st 3 cities. (w/ trade rights given away)Plus if you arent expanding with them, the HRE Poland Russia and sometimes Hungary expand around the baltic coast and eventually attack you.

    You can easily make just about any faction more "defensive" by moving at the start to your new home, IE move into a city you know will be contested and make it your capital. Like Jerusalem as the Byz or a Muslim faction. There are some cities that will always be contested by the AI and some that rarely if ever are. Example if you take Frankfurt and make it your capital, HRE is gunna attack you as much as possible. As you would, if barbarians sacked your capital.

  7. #7
    Guest Gaius Terentius Varro's Avatar
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    Default Re: Defensive campaigns

    Play Sicily on VH and take Durazzo and Caligari within first few turns. Then see what happens. LOL.

  8. #8
    kwait nait Member Monsieur Alphonse's Avatar
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    Default Re: Defensive campaigns

    Actually it doesn't matter who your are playing, but how. If you play the chivalry way and get lots of friends, a good reputation, allies etc. no one will attack you. If you play like I do: no friends, no allies, very very very untrustworthy reputation etc. every one will hate you and every one will attack you. You will be attacked on all fronts by every one. Have fun and enjoy the war.

    PS: Try to get excommunicated. This will give you more fun because the pope will call a crusade against you. Any catholic faction will attack you. Defending a city or a castle against multiple stacks wow what a challenge.
    Last edited by Monsieur Alphonse; 04-07-2008 at 22:16.
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  9. #9
    Member Member PBI's Avatar
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    Default Re: Defensive campaigns

    All good suggestions, I think I may have to try a few. I think I might try playing a campaign doing everything possible to entice the AI to attack me, i.e. get excommunicated as a matter of priority, get a terrible rep, resist the urge to go on a rampage as soon as another faction attacks, take a city I know will be attacked a lot etc. Of course this does mean I may have to play against all of my most basic TW instincts, including, god forbid, putting myself in a position where there will be a good chance I will lose the campaign. Maybe I'll make it my objective to survive until a certain date, rather than actually win the campaign.

    Stainless Steel is next on my mod shopping list, but it's about 800Mb and I only have a feeble internet connection at the moment.

  10. #10
    Know the dark side Member Askthepizzaguy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Defensive campaigns

    Quote Originally Posted by Caledonian Rhyfelwyr
    If you resist the urge to do a askthepizzaguy blitz and win after 7 turns, the HRE can come under attack from a variety of factions.
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  11. #11

    Default Re: Defensive campaigns

    Sicily is a pretty good choice for a defensive type campaign. Or at least a campaign where you must choose your battles more carefully.

    Since you have very little in the way of rebel settlements (africa, teeny bit of greence.. those two islands) you will share borders with the AI right off the bat pretty much. Since you are catholic the moors can strike at you as well as byz. and to the north, well milan speaks for itself so essentially you will either have to run three seperate campaigns on the defensive (greece, italy and africa) or sacrifice your original settlements in order to have one solid front.
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  12. #12
    Prince Louis of France (KotF) Member Ramses II CP's Avatar
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    Default Re: Defensive campaigns

    I like the Turks for a defensive campaign. Let's face it, you'll mostly be fighting boredom if you don't put yourself in the path of a few good crusades, the Mongols, and the Timurids.


  13. #13
    The Ferryman Member trickydicky's Avatar
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    Default Re: Defensive campaigns

    These sorts of campaigns are my favourites.

    Scotland, England, France, HRE, Denmark in fact just about every faction can be played this way. Just consolidate to a particular area. For example if playing Portugal, whip the Spanish and kick the moors from Iberia. At that point sit back and tech up. Then don't do anything for 50 turns or so.

    Be sneaky, use lots of assassins and everyone will come to hate you. Throw in a good Excomm and enjoy the fun when they all come a callin'.
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  14. #14

    Default Re: Defensive campaigns

    Scotland in Britania gets attacked by Norway regularly. Venice usually has problems with Milan and Byzantines. If you want to be attacked then don't make alliances, send armies to sit in the AI territory you want to start a fight with, and send spies and assassins to irritate it. If you do ally, do so with an enemy of the faction you want to attack you. Send diplomats to make outrageous demands to get you rating with the faction to drop. Leave your city that you want to be attacked undergarrisoned with nearby units to reinforce it. The AI loves to attack weakly garrisoned settlements but will chicken out if you reinforce a city too well. In summary "taunt and tease".

  15. #15
    Member Member Gaiseric's Avatar
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    Default Re: Defensive campaigns

    If you are playing a defensive style campaign, money can be tight. You'll have to save wherever you can. If you have two towns on a front that are not within marching distance of each other, put a fort in between them. The army in this fort can come to both towns aid when they are besiged. Instead of paying for two armies in both settlements you only need to pay for one. Sometimes you can get lucky and even have a fort that can help out with 3 settlements.


    I am actually playing a defensive campaign right now as Hungary in Stainless Steel 5.1. Using the fort idea, I have been able to save up enough money to build up my economy. In SS 5.1 though, the AI is smarter and will send some nasty stacks after you. I've had a 50 turn war going on with the byzantines and there have been very few turns that I have not had to fight a defensive battle. I try to use my generals in battle as much as I can to avoid having to retrain troops. In SS I also noticed that the AI will pay ransoms more often when you have a low balance. Good luck with your defence!!!

  16. #16
    Member Member PBI's Avatar
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    Default Re: Defensive campaigns

    Taking on board everyone's suggestions here I decided to start a defensive campaign as the Byzantines, H/H, on good old-fashioned vanilla, to try and kick my modding addiction. My initial strategy was to expand North as far as Bucharest and West as far as Durazzo, and then turtle and wait for the enemy to come to me. The Venetians attacked first, which was when I discovered a rather unfortunate hangover of my modded version, i.e. all the merc recruitment pools had been doubled. Thus the Venetians had the ability to suddenly raise huge stacks of merc crossbows and spearmen out of nowhere. However, after a few fairly nervy defenses of Durazzo and Sofia I seem to be fairly secure against them; they seem to have switched to a naval strategy for now, blockading my ports and attempting to sail troops around to land in Bucharest for some reason.

    Next to attack were Hungary, more of a challenge since my Northern frontier was underdefended and their Hungarian Nobles are a match for my Vardariotai. I lost Bucharest, and barely held Sofia; however, after a major victory over the Venetians in Albania I was able to send my faction leader to help and to recapture Bucharest; the Hungarians too seem to have run out of steam a bit as they are now distracted with a war against the HRE.

    I am now up to about turn 50, and at long last the Turks have attacked me. However, they don't seem to be in much of a hurry, I crushed the only serious stack they sent outside Nicea. On the economic front, I am at last starting to make some serious money as my cities expand (which is surprising, I thought keeping a small empire would guarantee I was always strapped for cash), so I think I may have to invite a few more attacks to keep things interesting. I'm thinking an expeditionary force to attack Rome should do the trick. Plus, it occurs to me the Mongols are just around the corner, and I have no idea how I'm going to deal with them.

    My defensive strategy has been based around the insanely powerful Vardariotai, and has been mainly about keeping one or two mobile defensive forces to respond to threats; this has been helped by the AI's fondness for sending stacks of 3 or 4 unsupported italian spear militia to reinforce its armies, leaving them as easy picking for my horse archers. I think next time I may try one of the non-HA factions in order to be able to have a more static defense; hugely powerful HAs plus worthless infantry does not make great garrisons.

    I'd definitely say this has been the most enjoyable campaign I've had for a long time; it's so much more interesting fighting battles where there's actually something at stake, and having to stretch my resources and often fight at a disadvantage. Sorry for the long post, I think I may have rambled a bit!
    Last edited by PBI; 04-14-2008 at 13:22.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Defensive campaigns

    I salute all of you defensive players for your exceptional patience. LTC and Stainless Steel are hard enough for me, because I can't go a blitzing from the get go (that's Texan for "from the start"). Maybe by the time the second patch comes out for Empires and I'm retired I'll have the patience for a defensive campaign.

    Have you not captured any settlements PBI? How large a fleet do you have?

  18. #18
    Member Member Gaiseric's Avatar
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    Default Re: Defensive campaigns

    @Poor Bloody Infantry

    Wow, It sounds like you had a fun and challenging start. Im just curious, since it's been awhile since I played vanilla: What kind of stacks, besides mercs, is the AI sending against you, and what type of garrisons does it keep to gaurd its settlements.


    I actually gave up my defensive campaign as Hungary in Stainless Steel 5.1. The AI armies that where getting sent against me were lousy 3-4 stack armies, which where just time consuming to sally and defeat. I did have a couple critical battles facing full stacks, but not enough to maintain my intrest. I suppose if I played longer the AI would have sent better armies my way, but it was getting annoying having to sally against stacks that where outnumbered by my garrisons. If someone can somehow teach the AI to combine its forces, then this game could be more fun and challenging. I'd rather fight fewer critical battles, against full stack armies, than many minor battles against smaller forces. I'd have to say that overall the best mod that I've played difficult defensive campaigns in is Lands to Conquer, with any faction.


    Does anyone else know of a faction or a mod that makes for a difficult and challenging defensive campaign?

  19. #19
    Member Member PBI's Avatar
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    Default Re: Defensive campaigns

    Things are starting to get interesting again; Venice seem to be subdued, but Hungary and the Turks have regrouped and sent more attacks; plus now Poland have joined the party, and the Mongols have just arrived near Baghdad. I had some great battles this evening against repeated Turkish sieges of Nicea and Smyrna (who, incidentally seem to have a limitless supply of family members; every time I try to even the odds by assassinating the attacking general another, usually at least 5-star general is promoted to replace him), and had a tense standoff at the two bridges Northwest of Sofia against two full Hungarian stacks trying to get to Jerusalem via Constantinople, defending with about a half-stack of my own. It ended when the Hungarians for some reason pulled the Western army out, to attack HRE I think, while at the same time a full Polish stack besieged Bran. Thus I had to cross the bridge and fight my way through a full Hungarian stack, while still keeping enough of my army intact to defeat the Polish army.

    @Old Geezer: I have 3 fleets, about a quarter-stack each. The navy has been absolutely decisive in beating the Venetians, they seemed to be able to spam ships at will, but the better quality of my ships plus the fact that they are all at least silver-chevroned by now let me beat them back. Now I have sunk all the Venetian fleets and have their ports under blockade, which seems to have subdued them; not strictly defensive I suppose but naval combat gets boring quite quickly.

    As for taking cities, apart from the initial rebel settlements, I took Ragusa quite early on after withstanding the Venetian storm; recently I also took Iraklion, and Bran from the Hungarians, because they were ridiculously underdefended and I couldn't quite resist it; every TW instinct I have is telling me to go on a lightning blitzkrieg campaign and roll up half the map, so as a compromise I have decided I will only take settlements when the council of nobles tells me to.

    @Gaiseric: The AI stacks are inconsistent, but mostly OK; I'm mostly fighting horse archer factions, which let's face it are hard to go too far wrong with. Mostly I'm facing huge stacks of merc crossbows, spears and knights from the venetians, and merc lancers and horse archers from the Turks; I think the AI may cheat with mercs, it seems to be able to raise huge stacks of them at will, turn after turn; I can barely scrape together enough money to retrain my battered armies. It was an accident that I forgot to revert the descr_mecenaries file but it does seem to have upped the challenge a little. The Hungarians though are sending some nasty stuff; large stacks of feudal knights, DFKs, pavise crossbow militia and hungarian nobles. The one Polish stack I've fought wasn't too bad but I'm not looking forward to facing large stacks of Polish Nobles. I've been pleasantly surprised at the ability the AI seems to have to bounce back and build a better army once I wipe out their initial stacks of militia garbage.

    Next few turns should be quite fun, the AI just finished a Crusade to Jerusalem so there are lots of nasty stacks of Crusader knights hanging about; plus, I still have no idea what to do about the Mongols. At first they should help somewhat since Antioch is Turkish; not sure how I'm going to stop them rolling right over me once they're done with the Turks though. I'm mulling over pulling out of Anatolia and blockading the Bosphorus, though it would mean losing Nicea and Smyrna; suggestions most certainly welcome.

  20. #20
    Prince Louis of France (KotF) Member Ramses II CP's Avatar
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    Default Re: Defensive campaigns

    Go into the fields and fight the Mongols there! A stack of your Vards can take them on two stacks at a time with an decent general.

    Alternately block the passes west of Iconium with forts. You'll be lucky if the Mongols make it to you, I've never seen them build an empire (But I've never really played a defensive game either).


  21. #21

    Default Re: Defensive campaigns

    Quote Originally Posted by Poor Bloody Infantry
    It occurs to me that in every campaign I've ever done I have followed the same basic strategy: A quick campaign to seize the nearby rebel settlements, followed by a brief pause to build a decent army, and then a major strike against my most dangerous neighbour, putting them out of the game. I then usually find that with the cities and resources of two factions under my belt, I have a decisive advantage and can attack at will for the rest of the campaign. I barely ever have to defend except against the Mongols. I don't think I've ever fought a bridge defense against anyone else, and even siege defenses seem to me to be a rarity.

    I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions for a faction I could choose for a more defensive type of campaign, i.e. where I would start off relatively strong, but come under attack from my neighbours a lot and be forced to defend rather than attack for most of the campaign, as I much prefer defending to attacking. I was thinking maybe England in Britannia, but if anyone has any suggestions for the Grand Campaign that'd be great; it seems to me all the factions lend themselves to an attacking campaign.
    I do hate this so much.

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