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Thread: If a Battle is Unwinnable, What Do You Do?

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    Member Member Bartholemew-Varath's Avatar
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    Default If a Battle is Unwinnable, What Do You Do?

    If you are greatly outnumbered in a battle, clearly outclassed and defeat is certain, what do you do? Would you try to withdraw, or fight the battle out to the very end trying to pin as many losses as possible on your enemies?

    For me, i has to be the second option, to fight the battle to the very end, because on my end, i always seem to pull off some impossible victory. Like on my Julii campaign, i was attacked by three full stacks of Spanish troops at Narbo Matius, perhaps 600 light cavalry, 1500 infantry, and around 400 javelin men

    My army consisted of 300 Principines, 200 hastati, and 30 cavalry. This army was not at Narbo Matius, as it landed on the shore to reinforce Narbo Matius's garrison, but it was intercepted...

    When the battle started, i deployed all my men in a forest right at the end of the map, all of them in ambush positions apart from my general. As the enemy surged forwards, they ran across my Principines, that almost immediately butchered their iberian infantry, but were clearly outnumbered, then their cavalry attempted to flank me, i used my heavy cavalry to rout them, and then, when the enemies reinforcements arrive, i pulled my principines around and smashed them head on, instantly routing 700 infantry. I lost more than half of my army, which was around 250 soldiers, whilst killing 1700 enemy soldiers. All enemy armies instantly left Narbo Matius to return to Spain...

    I guess it was just a fluke, but it was extraudinary to see anyway.

    I have tried on certain occasions to withdraw, but for some reason the symbol is sometimes blotted out, i think this is due to no movement points remaining, or sometimes when i do it before the battle, the enemy army just catches up anyway, so its useless.

    So, what do you do when a battle is Unwinnable? (Or thats what you think anyway)

  2. #2
    Death and Glory TW modder Member Flying Pig's Avatar
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    Default Re: If a Battle is Unwinnable, What Do You Do?

    Two steps:

    1) Look again at the odds and composition of the armies. For example, the AI thinks that chariots are invincible and light cavalry are useless, but chariots can be killed with a bit of thhought and light cavalry are the lynchpin of my favourite tactic: to form a phalaginated line in contact with the foe and smash the rear with my riders. This often routs a lot of the enemy army, leading to 'heroic' victories. Also, remember that Spartans never say die. A few of these can win almost anything

    2) If it is unwinnable, deploy close to the edge and hit ctrl-a, w as soon as possible before one man dies. If you can win, fight like a hero.
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    The Scourge of Rome Member Spartan198's Avatar
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    Default Re: If a Battle is Unwinnable, What Do You Do?

    No retreat,no surrender...

    But that's just me. Though I have won a few impossible battles with that mentality...
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    Default Re: If a Battle is Unwinnable, What Do You Do?

    The lack of movement points does seem to be what prevents withdrawal. It is annoying you have no control of withdrawals, nothing worse than withdrawing from a possible Ambush attack, then getting immediately attacked and have no withdrawal option.

    In general, the AI's problem is that it suffers from the 1 unit v 1 unit mentality, rather than fighting as a group. So it permits isolation of units and overwhelming them cheaply with local force advantage.

    Similarly, reinforcements are less useful to the AI, because it rarely waits for them to combine with main force, frequently permitting them to be defeated in detail.

    I think having the right unit mix helps a lot. If you're caught without cavalry, the opponents are likely to rally and join the 2nd wave reinforcement attack, rather than be off field (or fertilising it). Additionally it'll be harder to tire and isolate enemy units, luring them into traps. Had a painful loss in Spain where a medium stack got caught without cavalry by surprise, due to a failure of recce on my part. Then it was hopeless, I tried to set up to inflict casualties and ambush a few units close to map edge, to reduce routing losses; but the AI force came on mostly coordinated, it's cavalry retreated to regroup, and when the overwhelming numbers of Infantry arrived, my weaker units routed, whilst the stronger ones stood and fought hopelessly for longer than I wanted, thus taking uneccessarily heavy losses.

    Had some epic battles in Spain, where surprisingly large Spanish forces were cracked and massacred by much smaller armies at poor odds; they seem to have fragile morale, good when they're winning but very liable to rout en-masse if things start going wrong.

    It's not just down to unit quality, one of my nice wins was against 3 Spartan Hoplite units sallying from Sparta with an attacking force advantage. Facing them with a rag tag mix of weakened low quality units, but (significantly) including light infantry javelin men who could kill the suicidal Spartans without any losses.
    Last edited by RLucid; 04-26-2008 at 08:54.

  5. #5

    Post Re: If a Battle is Unwinnable, What Do You Do?

    It depends upon the circumstances - as Flying Pig has said, I check odds, the units I'm up against and compare them with my own forces. I never trust the odds calculator itself due to its overrating of certain units and underrating of others.

    In certain cases, I always fight - if I have a force of horse archers and the enemy are short on ranged units for example, I can easily cause damage to the enemy without taking any damage myself making attacking/defending under all conditions worthwhile.

    If I think I can win based on that, I fight, if not, I withdraw, hoping I don't run into a force which is going to be even more difficult to defeat.

    Spies can be especially useful here, scouting out paths which may be used for withdrawals and checking if there are any dangerous forces there which I may encounter. They also can be useful for avoiding this sort of scenario all together, avoiding all enemy forces which are likely to defeat you.

    Last edited by Omanes Alexandrapolites; 04-26-2008 at 09:04.
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    Been there, conquered that.... Member Darkvicer98's Avatar
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    Default Re: If a Battle is Unwinnable, What Do You Do?

    I never retreat if i have phalanxes under my control. Once i had 5 hoplites and a family member,so i place the hoplites in a pentagon and put the general in the middle. I was facing 2 macedon stacks about 500 light cavalry,1000 militia hoplites and 500 levy pikemen. They surrounded me and attacked my no matter what force they never broke through the phalanx,so i slaughtered their first half and regrouped for their second. The same thing happened so i won the battle,200 against 2000.

    But strangely when i'm fighting as another faction(except macedon,seleucid empire,germania,thrace and scythia)and they have 2 armies with around the same amount of men,i slaughter the first half and get butchered by the second half which is slightly weaker than the first.


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    Default Re: If a Battle is Unwinnable, What Do You Do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Omanes Alexandrapolites
    if I have a force of horse archers and the enemy are short on ranged units for example, I can easily cause damage to the enemy without taking any damage myself making attacking/defending under all conditions worthwhile.
    Actually probably any 100% cav force should often fight even without Arrows it can either tire and catch opposition units out, or get a narrow victory without suffering or causing losses.

    Think it is right that army get blocked in such circumstances, as presence of enemy cavalry slowed armies down, due to threat posed; and caused difficulties for foragers. Cavalry screens were important!

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    Deranged rock ape Member Quirinus's Avatar
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    Default Re: If a Battle is Unwinnable, What Do You Do?

    If it's possible to withdraw, I normally do, but if battle (and defeat) is inevitable, I try to take down as many of the enemy bastards as I can. In one of my Greek battles against Spain (I migrated to Massilia) one of my small armies was ambushed by a superior Carthaginian force. I made them pay for it-- I routed something like half their Iberian infantry units before a charge to the rear by their general's bodyguard put an end to the farce.
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  9. #9

    Post Re: If a Battle is Unwinnable, What Do You Do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Darkvicer98
    But strangely when i'm fighting as another faction(except macedon,seleucid empire,germania,thrace and scythia)and they have 2 armies with around the same amount of men,i slaughter the first half and get butchered by the second half which is slightly weaker than the first.
    This'll probably be attributable to units tiring during the inital fight and having to battle the second batch in a less fresh state.

    You could try to minimise running and only walk your troops across the battle map, or, if viable, try to keep fresh men in reserve to combat the second wave.
    Quote Originally Posted by RLucid
    Actually probably any 100% cav force should often fight even without Arrows it can either tire and catch opposition units out, or get a narrow victory without suffering or causing losses.
    That's a good point, although victory itself often is only really doable if the enemy lack decent cavalry of their own. While charging into and then fleeing from an infantry unit is possible, charging and then fleeing from a typical cavalry unit isn't quite so easy to perform.

    This often isn't helped by the exaustion caused by the tactic - in that case, the enemies fresher cavalry are usually actually able to catch up with your own resulting in them being unable to flee. This can force you to withdraw earlier than you would be able to with a solely foot based force.

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  10. #10

    Default Re: If a Battle is Unwinnable, What Do You Do?

    Yes, you need several cav units together and an echelon formation, tends to let you get an advantage over opposition cavalry, either by maneuver or having fresh unit as attacker, following a chase.

    Actually charging into enemy cavalry unit from flank with inferior cav force, and then fleeing as bait for a trap, is one of my regular tactics! The E. Horsey based factions used these types of ruses, right through middle ages, so I don't see it as an implausible exploit that it works.
    Last edited by RLucid; 04-26-2008 at 16:05.

  11. #11

    Post Re: If a Battle is Unwinnable, What Do You Do?

    I must admit that trapping is a very useful tactic. In many cases I have lured enemy units onto superior force through this tactic. As the word hidden suggests though, it's best used when combined with tree cover and, in the case of units with excellent ambush abilities, long grass.

    Hiding can also be used to surround enemy forces and, in some cases, force them to fight to the death completely obliterating them. This can be done by hiding forces in the trees to the left and right in front of the approaching foes. Once they are in combat, flank and completely trap them.

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  12. #12

    Default Re: If a Battle is Unwinnable, What Do You Do?

    Well if Im over powerd I usualy run for the hills but on some occasions when I cant run or if Im feeling like taking massive risks then some times I will stand and fight.

    If it is a seige and my Garrision is under manned I usualy try to weaken the enemy by sallying, and use my archers to pepper them until it comes to the point where they are ready to seige that way I weaken there total force.

  13. #13

    Default Re: If a Battle is Unwinnable, What Do You Do?

    Quote Originally Posted by zalalzabob konsorbud
    Well if Im over powerd I usualy run for the hills but on some occasions when I cant run or if Im feeling like taking massive risks then some times I will stand and fight.

    If it is a seige and my Garrision is under manned I usualy try to weaken the enemy by sallying, and use my archers to pepper them until it comes to the point where they are ready to seige that way I weaken there total force.


    Some times if lucky during a sally the enemy army turns and runs.
    And thats when a Good warlord comes handy. It is mostly a massacre.

  14. #14

    Default Re: If a Battle is Unwinnable, What Do You Do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Omanes Alexandrapolites
    I must admit that trapping is a very useful tactic. In many cases I have lured enemy units onto superior force through this tactic. As the word hidden suggests though, it's best used when combined with tree cover and, in the case of units with excellent ambush abilities, long grass.
    When a cavalry unit is chasing your "fleeing" unit, they don't seem to see much but your horses cute rears... well they sure seem to run into spearmen awful often, and then get clobbered by heavy cavalry without any cover at all. Perhaps the non-spear infantry units "screen" the trapping spearmen. I haven't needed the trap to be "hidden" at all, open ground fine at least with 'impetuous' units. Worked for me a treat against Barb cavalry and Macedonians, for instance.

    The main problem is when the battle seems to run at double speed, and large number of forces, are close together so you don't get time to spring trap, focus elsewhere and rest your gallopers before next round.

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    Honorary Argentinian Senior Member Gyroball Champion, Karts Champion Caius's Avatar
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    Default Re: If a Battle is Unwinnable, What Do You Do?

    I try to debilitate them as much as I can. Sometimes I make 1 or 2 rout, but it isn't enough, half of my forces had run like cowards!




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    Default Re: If a Battle is Unwinnable, What Do You Do?

    Depends on why I'm fighting.

    If I just want the army to survive so I can reinforce/retrain it and come back to fight under better terms, I'll try to avoid combat if possible. If I can retreat, I retreat. If one of my units is routing, I'll let him get away if possible. I'll try to fight near my home edge of the battlefield so routers can escape easily.

    On the other hand, when there's no way to survive, or when survival isn't enough, I'll fight to hurt the other guy as bad as possible. I'll do anything I can to kill family members, I'll fight the worst war of attrition I can manage to take as many enemies down with me as I can. Sometimes this actually means fighting "worse" than I otherwise could, for example by detaching light cavalry to chase routers instead of pulling them back to try to rout more units, because I know I can't rout enough to win, and routed units I slaughter down to the last man won't get retrained in a single turn as soon as they land in a city.

    Of note in the second situation, javelin cavalry are excellent general killers. Not sure why, maybe it's just the wear-down effect of the hails of javelins before the final charge home, but regardless, I seem to get better results when I send in Cavalry Auxillia or Militia Cavalry against enemy generals than most kinds of melee cavalry or true horse archers. Could just be my imagination, though.

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    Senior Member Senior Member Ibn-Khaldun's Avatar
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    Default Re: If a Battle is Unwinnable, What Do You Do?

    I usually fight to death if I have to ...
    Especially then when my army is the largest in that region and losing that would leave it open for enemy conquest ....
    sometimes those battles end up being heroic victories ..
    I remember once the Brutii attacked me (I was Julii) with a full stack of units like some elite principes and missile troops .. I had some hastati greek mercenaries and couple of equites .. It was a hopeless battle but because my equites were ambushing in a forest and attacked there rear it caused a mass rout and the battle ended as a heroic victory ...
    If I would have autoresolved it this would have been clear defeat...

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    Been there, conquered that.... Member Darkvicer98's Avatar
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    Default Re: If a Battle is Unwinnable, What Do You Do?

    I once beat a force of 750 carthiginians with a force of 250 romans. It was nuts,they never flanked me or came from behind just charged into my army.

    Another thing is i was moving a general from Thermon to Sparta,i was attacked by 3 macedon armies(over 200 men in total)against my 13 general's bodyguard. I crushed overall 2 militia hoplites,1 peasants,2 light lancers and 1 general yet i only lost 4 cavalry units.


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    Death and Glory TW modder Member Flying Pig's Avatar
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    Default Re: If a Battle is Unwinnable, What Do You Do?

    ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS sally out on bthe first turn of a seige. No matter the odds, if you don't severly botch your play (ie, let the enemy in) the worst defeat you can recieve is a draw as the foe has no seige gear. If you are going to die horribly, do so before the gates of your city although a bloody last stand in the centre is good as there is no retreat from there.
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    Been there, conquered that.... Member Darkvicer98's Avatar
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    Default Re: If a Battle is Unwinnable, What Do You Do?

    I play as The Seleucid Empire,Macedon,The Greek Cities etc factions with mainly phalanx troops and i usually wait until they attack. I put my levy's/hoplites in the entrance's to the center of my settlement and i put other phalanx men around them and behing them whilst putting missile troops behind them. It never fails me,i slaughter the enemy and get few casualties but when facing pontus/armenia watch that heavy cavalry charge when fighting eastern infantry, they burst right through the levy's ranks so that's why i need another levy unit right behind them,to reinforce the unit infront.


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  21. #21

    Default Re: If a Battle is Unwinnable, What Do You Do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Flying Pig
    ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS sally out on bthe first turn of a seige. No matter the odds, if you don't severly botch your play (ie, let the enemy in) the worst defeat you can recieve is a draw as the foe has no seige gear. If you are going to die horribly, do so before the gates of your city although a bloody last stand in the centre is good as there is no retreat from there.
    Why do this?

    You probably have a relief force on way, with real fighting potential rather than a defensive garrison, with no real chance of victory.

    One reason to sally is to capture & destroy the siege gear, if it's not built yet you have less to gain and give up a strong defensive position so most likely suffer unnecessary casualties. And you are opening the gates, and fleeing units may be followed.

    Then fighting when highly outnumbered is likely to cause disproportionately high losses, making subsequent defeat more likely.

  22. #22

    Post Re: If a Battle is Unwinnable, What Do You Do?

    I agree with RLucid - sallying out first turn of a siege is an unwise move. Sallying out on the last turn is always constructive, you've got nothing to lose, but I've found that is most cases its best to sit tight and wait for the enemy to come to you - defending a city is much easier than attacking another force in what essentially is basic field combat.

    This is due partially to the AI which, in sallies, shows a fair level of intelligence. They know to keep out of the way of the walls, which they can't do in an assault.

    In addition, as said, taking losses early on makes you more vulnerable when the enemy to choose to bring the fight to you.

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    Been there, conquered that.... Member Darkvicer98's Avatar
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    Default Re: If a Battle is Unwinnable, What Do You Do?

    I also agree with RLucid,if you attack the force they're more likely to run to a corner of your settlement and stand ground there. Which is annoying if they have horse archers,you end up running around the map before killing them all.
    Whereas if you defend your settlement theres more chance your going to win.

    Draw the enemy into your small spaces in your settlement,they can't handle it because they can't flank you or go behind you.


    Cry HAVOC and let slip the dogs of War!

    A brave man may fall,but he cannot yield-Latin Proverb

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    Deranged rock ape Member Quirinus's Avatar
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    Default Re: If a Battle is Unwinnable, What Do You Do?

    It depends though, I guess. If the besieging army has no ranged units and I have loads of them, I normally will sally forth and try to hit as many of them as I can before I run out of ammo. Dangerous to do if they have cavalry, though.
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    The Black Senior Member Papewaio's Avatar
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    Default Re: If a Battle is Unwinnable, What Do You Do?

    I normally discount enemy archers and peasants as my armies are heavily composed of infantry and light horse with unit or 2 of heavy cav to guard the rear and flanks of the general.

    With cav archers you have a lot more flexibility with your opponents, you can ping away at spearmen, harass heavy cav or pin archers from both sides and then attack them from behind. The only problem is that it takes a bit more micromanagement then I find bearable.

    So in the end even if I'm outnumbered by 2:1 I normally have the upper hand in army composition. Just have to match up the right combinations and not commit all my forces too early.
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    Default Re: If a Battle is Unwinnable, What Do You Do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Quirinus
    It depends though, I guess. If the besieging army has no ranged units and I have loads of them, I normally will sally forth and try to hit as many of them as I can before I run out of ammo. Dangerous to do if they have cavalry, though.
    Whilst I agree with you, one of the assumptions in this thread, was that you had little chance of winning. If you have lots of ranged units with some supporting troops, it is not clear that a battle is unwinnable; you actually have some kind of real army that can inflict real damage.

    Every situation has to be judged on the actual situation, even if you have a superior relief force on way, that may not be much use, if you know the AI is moving even better reinforcements to the area. Though that seems rather hypothetical...
    Last edited by RLucid; 04-30-2008 at 08:03.

  27. #27
    Deranged rock ape Member Quirinus's Avatar
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    Default Re: If a Battle is Unwinnable, What Do You Do?

    Not everyone can win a battle against full-stack chosen swordsmen with town watch and velites. Inflicting real damage isn't quite the same as winning a battle, y'know.
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  28. #28

    Default Re: If a Battle is Unwinnable, What Do You Do?

    AI advanced enough to field 20 units of full chosen swordsmen, no cavalry, no archers (poor army balance), and you've built a velites based army, neglected cavalry and holding infantry, which is now coordinating with the town garrison as a desperation measure? This seems a bit of a silly example to me.
    Last edited by RLucid; 05-02-2008 at 08:15.

  29. #29

    Post Re: If a Battle is Unwinnable, What Do You Do?

    I wouldn't really say it was a bad example - it is a possibility. The AI may have beaten back front-line forces and cities resulting in several exposed regions with worthless garrisons. I for one am guilty of doing this - using mainly peasants in all cities not directly open to land attack.

    Last edited by Omanes Alexandrapolites; 05-02-2008 at 08:25.
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  30. #30

    Default Re: If a Battle is Unwinnable, What Do You Do?

    So you see trouble coming, suffer defeats, the AI has no skirmisher killing cavalry, and so you build a load of 1st level troops like Velites? Implausible to me.
    Last edited by RLucid; 05-02-2008 at 09:01.

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