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Thread: Crusade!

  1. #1

    Default Crusade!

    When I first played MTW, I was always anxious to crusade - just for the romance of it all! Against my allies, the greatest superpower, all heretics - I would crusade. I was the Pope's puppet pet.
    However, for all my zeal, I hardly completed a crusade either because it would never have enough units - or in other cases - where it did, they would be broken, piecemeal cohorts from all over Europe, easily scattered.

    Yet this was not the worst part, for later I took the advice of placing an army of my own choosing in the crusade before it left.
    The most terrible part of the crusade was if it succeeded, and I was left with 500 exhausted men sitting in a destroyed fort in the centre of the Ottoman Empire!

    What then? What to do!

    How should a crusade be correctly planned, and where is it best to be launched from in Europe.. What provinces are best targeted - if they are not already organised by the GA?

  2. #2
    Member Member Knight of the Rose's Avatar
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    Mar 2008
    In the land of the Roses

    Default Re: Crusade!

    Uhh I love crusades also - the thought of going through a lot of enemy territory, taking an objective and then fighting for survival far far away from home, often without any immidiate reinforcements. When I sometimes find MTW a little too easy I usually try to make a crusade succeed against all odds.

    As to the "how to", it kinda depends on who you are and where your target is. As you cannot rely on available sea transport, crusades from western Europe to the Holy Land can go through Hungary/Byz or Africa. Crusades to eastern Europe and the steppes can usually choose from a host of routes.

    In general though, I always try to spy on the provinces that I plan to go through. Failing that, I fall back on the experience of launching God nows how many crusades these last 5 years. There are "good" provinces with zeal above 60% and there are "bad" provinces with less. There are also "very bad" provinces especially near Constantinople with *very* low zeal (5-10%). In general you'll gain troops in good provinces and lose them in bad. Then I consider the target. Rich eastern powers will usually have a lot of troops, and can launch a massive counterattack should you take your target. I always plan to end up with at least 1.500 troops in the end (normal unit size). Not counting peasants.

    As you not only pick up the local garrison, but also gain bonus troops from "good" provinces, you can estimate a rough 300-500 men influx there. You'll lose 150-250 in bad provinces, and maybe double that in very bad provinces. Then you can estimate what you need to begin with. I find that I usually end up with too few missile units, so my advice would be: bring a couple more of those.

    I usually make the faction heir lead the crusade, as he will be able to teleport home, when a succession is needed. And the experience of frequent last stand battles will benefit your empire. Just make sure there are more than one heir, if things get ugly.

    Best of luck with crusading!


  3. #3

    Default Re: Crusade!

    Crusades are an interesting dynamic of the game. It is indeed those crusades, usually to the Levant, that are the most challenging and interesting. I often send a crusade to somewhere like Antioch over land and first try to capture the province and then try to see how long they can hold out without support. In one very memorable campaign as the English a crusade managed not only to survive but also to expand, totally unaided by the west, into neighbouring provinces, take most of Asia Minor and the Levant and then fight a successful defence against the Mongols. It was quite literally a few hundred years later that the two sides were reunited.
    Last edited by caravel; 12-22-2008 at 16:21.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Crusade!

    I used to do all that optimizing for crusades in the early days, pile up custom made stacks in - yet now - even when i play GA i let the Crusade do the picking on its own. Its more fun and historically plausible this way i find. The problem i used to have was that homelands are emlpoyed for all other culture units other than Christians in general and Catholics that have the best of them in particular. So when you reach Livonia or Antioch or Jerusalem, you start churning out... the same units you could churn out at home at will with the exception of Turcopoles.

    Planning a Crusade should coincide with a King of 5 influence minimum and less than 45 years old prefferably. Otherwise you risk much by the influence hit if the crusade fails (from 4 influence its a disaster) all the more if the king dies and his heir of lesser influence comes to power.

    Ideally started in a place not too far off the intended land or sea route junction that you'll use and of decent zeal. Optimally send by sea either using your own boats or those of you catholic allies (say the Italians).

    Ensuring success of course means filling it up with units of your own making prefferably already stacked ready to join,as to give the receiver less time to prepare.

    !it burnsus!
    Last edited by gollum; 12-22-2008 at 18:26.
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  5. #5
    Member Member Haccapelite's Avatar
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    Jun 2007
    Far away, in the land of snow and sorrow

    Default Re: Crusade!

    Glenn, if your main goal is just to make a succesfull crusade that won't be that much fun, you might want to try out this style that I have used sometimes to make fast and succesful crusades. (KotR and gollum already gave some hints for this so I'll go into more detail.)

    First of all, before building your crusade, make a good army, plenty of FMAA, Feudal sergeants, mounted sergeants or other light cavalry, some knights and archers. If you are going to make your crusade to the Holy Land and the Turkish are the dominating power there, you should take lots of light cavalry with you since their HA's can be a real nuisance if you can't counter them with anything. Remember to watch your economy when building and remember that once you drop any units to a crusade, you won't have to pay their support cost for as long as the crusade is going.

    While building the army, create a safe chain of ships from one of your coastal provinces (as close to the province where your crusade is starting from) to the province where you are planning to make the crusade. Make sure that no enemy ship can cut your ship chain. Now build the crusade marker and drop the army you have waiting to the crusade and throw in a good commander with at least 4 stars. Now you will be ready to drop your little suprise to the backyard of the unsuspecting enemy.

    While this way the journey of your crusade won't be as adventurous as it would be otherwise, this ensures that your crusade will lose as few men as possible and you might actually be able to hold your target province for longer than just a few turns.

  6. #6
    Member Member Fagar's Avatar
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    Nov 2008
    Brisbane Australia

    Default Re: Crusade!

    This is slightly off topic but I thought interesting to share.
    In my current campaign GA as the Byzzies there was a crusade launched by the HRE for Antioch held by the Eggies.
    The HRE crusade amassed around 1200 men then used my ships to jump straight from Croatia to Antioch.
    I was laughing at the soon to be failed crusade as in Antioch there were no less than 6 stacks of Eggy (and for once they weren't all peasants) troops but what should happen instead?
    On this turn the Eggies (my allies) decide to invade me into Edessa and Syria leaving Antioch bare.
    I repelled the assault with my Katatanks and Varangian Guards and in in my indignity slaughtered all the prisoners.
    However the Eggies did not actually show much spirit and withdrew from battle after only sacrificing a little over 1000 men.
    This left them with 4.5 stacks of men ripe to take back their lost province of Antioch where a small garrison was being beseiged and restore glory to their empire.
    Did they do this NO!!!
    Instead they decided to attack me again and also for the next 2 consecutive years handing the HRE a successful crusade.
    The wash up was that I decided to flex my might and in the next half a decade had pushed the Eggies back to a snivelling washed up force in Egypt and had taken Antioch for myself in the bargain.
    All this goes to show that even though Crusades can be predictable and hard to organise you just never know!

  7. #7

    Default Re: Crusade!

    Interesting story!

    Well, I have had some good situations with crusades from England launched into Palestine - it is fun leaving such an important trial to chance - but I would like to win every now and then! You imply, Haccapelite, that most crusades do not hold the target province for long, even if they are successful. That gives to me confidence!
    I think Aragon will be creating a large, defensive navy, placing two garrisoned armies in the newly formed Castilian-Aragonese Kingdom, and then launching a crusade - perhaps to Novgorod - perhaps to Egypt. King Sancho II has 9 influence due to his careful handling of politics, and stealthy conduct of the Iberian wars.

    One note; am I correct in saying that the AI in XL 3.0 does not crusade as often as in Vanilla?

    In my current Aragonese campaign, it is 1129, and no crusade has yet been declared. The HRE are excommunicated, and at war with Poland, Hungaria, Venezia and Norway - but the war is moving very slowly.
    And apart from that, the only other wars have been the first Iberian war - Almohads vs. Aragon-Castile-Portugal and the Second - Castile vs. Portugal vs. Aragon.

    Where as in Vanilla, every faction with the option would be declaring crusades quite early - England especially, and Castile.
    Or am I simply being impatient?

    Thank you for these answers!

  8. #8
    Member Member Fagar's Avatar
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    Nov 2008
    Brisbane Australia

    Default Re: Crusade!

    Indeed it is difficult to hold a crusade territory but that is the challenge.
    With correct planning and picking you right target you have a better level of success.
    For instance I quite often crusade for say Greece first where the Byzantines have a tendency to garrison fairly lightly and you get to travel through some high zeal areas and pick up big gains so winning Greece is a good bet.
    I secure these borders, get some production happenning build an army and then crusade to Nicea or similar. Travelling through Greece dropping in my ready made army and going into Nicea with huge numbers. Because it is a short hop the losses are minimal.
    repeat this process and then go for Antioch, Palestine or wherever you want.
    This strategy certainly works for me more often than not.
    But you do need to be patient and plan the timing correctly. You have to maintain a good economy because your large troop numbers after the crusades are a huge burden and you need to keep the other Christian nations onside as you do not need to be spending all your cash and time on your homelands when your focus is on the outremer territories.
    Try not to rush it, if you are playing GA mode you have till 1205 to accomplish many of these crusades and for every small crusade you win you may not get GA points for it but you will get influence.
    The other bonus is you can start crusading earlier as you do not need to have established a fleet to get to your goal you are effectively turtling in stages!

  9. #9
    Friend of Lady Luck Member Mooks's Avatar
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    Nov 2005

    Default Re: Crusade!

    When im planning a crusade I try to keep it as simple as possible. Various half-units/ quarter units do nothing for you even if they all equal up to 2000+. Try for calvary/archers/infantry, thats right, just 3 types of units. Archers are usually the most important to load up on, since they are used alot in the areas your going to (levant/steppes).

    typical early age crusade for me = Mounted seargents/feudal seargents/archers. They are cheap units too, so you can easily mass them. Dont bother putting your carefully constructed armies in their (The 16 unit stacks that are all purpose armies, you know the ones), just mass lots of units and put them in.

    Catapults and mercs aren't recommended, both units will quickly deplete leaving you with too few of them to make any difference at all. Unless the target is close (which is the type of crusade im not talking about).

    The low tech army im suggesting also helps because most likely your arrive in the levant with almost no infrastructure.

    It helps to scout ahead of the crusade a bit, to go through provinces with alot of stationed troops, the more the better.

    So by the time you reach the levant from the heart of europe. Your have a smattering of troops (most likely crap) from all over europe, but a nice core army to deal with. Use the auxillery troops as cannon fodder and gate takers.

    AS for planning. The best time is when your neighbors arent doing so well, so you can load up the crusade with as much as possible, the income your receive from not supporting them can now go into rebuilding your armies.

    AS for the best place, definetely antioch. Lots of gold to be made, and its alot more fun then greece/constaninople.

    When you take the province you want, build a inn and recruit the neccasary mercs.

    Good hunting.
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  10. #10

    Default Re: Crusade!

    The problem with crusades is just that. Most of the time half the army ends up deserting before you even get tot the location.

    To counter this, of course, you can always hire mercenaries which are, let's face it, just terrible. So, the best strategy would be to attack places close to home, or get to the location as quickly as possible, and this is where fleets come in handy.

    If you are Sicily, for example, the fastest route to the Middle East is by water, and the same holds tru for most if not all western European factions. It isnt as big of a deal if you are in the east already, but fleets are almost always necessary to get there on time.

  11. #11
    Member Member Fagar's Avatar
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    Nov 2008
    Brisbane Australia

    Default Re: Crusade!

    The trouble there is if you are playing say a GA game by the time you manage to get a fleet up and running and production at the level to accomodate said fleet you are past the or too close to the 1205 cut off to get points from crusading.
    That is why I suggest crusading in small leaps until you achieve you actual main target.
    But you are correct if you are playing as the Sicilians then it is much easier. Just a simple leap and you are there.


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