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Thread: Bactrian Frustration

  1. #1

    Default Bactrian Frustration

    For a long time I planned to start a Bactrian campaign. Bactria was one of the factions that I like nearly as much as Romans, but unlike Romans I've never tried that campaign. I've read all the advice this forum has to offer about Bactria and launched a campaign.

    The first town I took was Kophen. It was not hard. Then I planned on taking Alexandropolis. Unfortunately the Seles got there before me. As I was slowly building my forces and economy, I've tried my best to stay allied with the AS. I supported them against Pahlava and Pontos (I even payed them 20 Mnai per turn to make it less likely to attack me). So far it worked.

    With my faction leader, some missile troops and 2 native phalanxes I've marched to Taxi... whatever that town is called. I knew that I will lose, I just wanted to see how much damage I can inflict. Actually it was not that much as they probably healed most of the wounded. I've returned to Bactra and retrained my troops, added 2 more native phalanxes, heavy skirmishers and slingers plus 2 more family members. That stretched my economy to the limit as I started to lose money (I actually had to train a garrison in Bactra - 2x Pantodapoi and archers and all my other 3 FM's to protect the city against possible invasion).

    I marched to that Indian town again, which took years, and layed siege. By that time I was with -4000 in my coffers. The AI didn't sally so I was preparing to starve the garrison. Unfortunately my army appeared to be starving faster. Seeing that I decided to attack. My native phalanx units were less than impressive on the walls. They were killed in numbers by medium Indo-Hellenic skirmishers and 50 Guild warriors on the other wall simply refused to die to 240 soldiers of my 2x native phalanxes, while slaughtering them in numbers. In addition to that elephants were cruising under the walls lowering rock bottom morale of my troops even lower.

    I saw that the battle is probably going nowhere, ended it and reloaded with firm commitment to starve the garrison out no matter what. With 3 turns remaining and the number of defenders steadily dwindling (also with -6000 in my treasury) I've received "Betrayed" message. Damn Seleucids beseiged Bactra with half stack with another half stack moving closely behind. Another half stack moved from Alexandropolis to Kophen which was defended by my FM with 30 hetairoi and small remnants of Indo-Iranian cavalry.

    I don't need to be a strategical genius to say that the AI will end my campaign in 3-4 turns.

    What I did wrong in that campaign and is it possible to succeed without running fro help to the console?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Bactrian Frustration

    Unless you use Force Diplomacy, a war with AS is inevitable regardless of what you play. I think it is just too tempting for the AI seeing as you give them military access. Taking Cophen was a good first move. After that consider trying to rebel the nearby AS cities with spies (especially the southern or western) ones.

    Thats what I do initially anyhow. Also consider using Hellenic Spearmen in a pinch...unless you auto-calc alot. These guys really suck but they are *ok* if they do not have to receive a charge or attack (i.e. use them to attack not for defense). Make sure there is at least a 1:1 ratio of spearmen to your phalangites tho.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Bactrian Frustration

    Maybe taking it slow and building up Bactra itself as your best province and only moneymaker would work? Unless you're in debt from the start.
    I haven't tried Bactria yet, but I'm looking forward to, after my current refreshing dip into utter barbarism.
    Also, isn't it possible to just block off streets with phalanxes in 1.2? I remember that working just fine in earlier versions.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Bactrian Frustration

    Going defensive isn't worth it. Just disband a unit of pantapodai phalangites and your cavalry and your good to go with about 300 mnai in the green a turn.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Bactrian Frustration

    I think that in case of Bactria the success of campaign depends also on the success of Pahlava. In my campaign Pahalva attacked the AS on turn 1, but probably were pushed back (I didn't check the map yet). If Pahlava will start winning against the AS that will lock those 2 in a long war which will allow Bactria to build up. If AS will push Pahlava back early on the attack on Bactria is imminent and at that time Bactria still doesn't stand a chance. I'll try to load earlier save and cancel military access may be it will help, but I doubt it.

  6. #6
    Guest Dayve's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bactrian Frustration

    Seleukia will betray you, Pahlava will betray you and Saka will send endless stacks of heavy armoured horse archers and lancers for the entire duration of your game.

    Make no mistake about this, from the turn you are betrayed by Seleukia onwards you will be fighting battles every single turn and the AI will never even attempt any form of diplomacy with you. You are doomed to fight large battles every single turn for the entire campaign.

    The only way is to blitz the Seleukids at the start, and even then you're not certain to win the campaign. Forget that Indian town in the east at first... The garrison is too strong. Wait until later for that. Definitely get it though... it has level 2 mine and makes a hell of a lot of money.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Bactrian Frustration

    I've started the Bactrian campaign a few times and what works best for me by a mile:

    1) Support the purple meanace when they DOW Arche-Selukia on the first turn. This will reduce the armies marching at you.
    2) Move on Alexandria-Margaine immediately after re-training your troops in Bactra to get bronze swords and shields.

    These actions will give you a negative treasury for a few years. Don't be surprized if none of your cities are building any buildings at first. Because of this, I consider building an armory of the natives immediately on the first turn. It's the only building you'll get for some time. This allows you to repair and build persian archers. I have fallen in love with these units. Their ammo is magnificent as well as their range. Only the Saka dogs can cause you trouble with these corps. Saka can take you down in a big way at this point if you do not have a good number of Hellenic Native Phalanxes. Use the phalanxes the way they were designed, in front. They are slow as hell, but can eat every arrow that plinks at them.

    3) Re-train and move north ASAP. There are 2 territorries north of you which have AS defenders. The third is the hateful Saka. These three cities are extremely close to each other and can fall to a marauding army if you move quickly.
    4) Do not build roads in the northen provinces immediately, which will slow the forces marching south. This give you time to react if you just have two spies watching the route.
    5) Purple will love you for for DOW'ing on Arche-Selukia. As long as AS doesn't go down in a pile of dust, they will keep your alliance, and better yet weaken nearly every force moving west against you.

    After you do this, hunker down and prepare to fight in the north and south for a while as you improve your economy. Everything for me is at very-high tax rate because all my slaves make big cities fast anyway.

    Watch AS to get pompous and attack Backtra, and by now you should have high morale persian archers on your level 1 stone wall. It's time to garner a heroic victory

    AS will be so confident that if you rout or follow his army home, you can counter-attack and take his cities in the south. A large Horde can follow a path South-East until you encounter Elutheroi. *Leave them alone!!!* They will stomp your head in with scary elephants. Oh, and supplies are next to nothing while you march in the indus.

    At this point you will be able to flex muscle and gather forces to move west or east. I tried moving east, and was quite surprized by the Indus. I recommend not using hellenic forces against them. The elephants will make your silly little native phalanxes as nothing, so be warned.

    Ciao, Backtrian wacko signing out...
    Psycho EB Addict From Galaxy EB42

  8. #8
    EBII Bricklayer Member V.T. Marvin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bactrian Frustration

    I dare to say that actually Baktria is so potentially rich that blitzing actually bring you more damage than benefit.
    You can defend Baktra against anything the AI throw on you by a bunch of cheap Persian Archers + 1-2 Family members.
    Save your money to build and upgrade mines there (as well as in other cities you take) - it takes time but afterwards you have assured steady income (unlike trade wars with neighbours do not impair it!).
    Antiocheia-Margiane is a liability rather than asset in early game - no mine, exposed to attacks, will draw you to war with Pahlava prematurely. Kophen is where you should go!
    Beware of India - you may look at my AAR (see my sig) what a beating I have got there! And it was only after I was swimming in cash (Baktra+Kophen+Propthasia+Alexandropolis - all mines upgraded!!!) and fielded a rather solid armies for the conquest.

    Do not blitz! It makes crappy game anyway and as Baktra it is even to your detriment. Go slowly, develop the economy and enjoy the beauty of your elite units wich you will be spamming soon enough!!!

  9. #9

    Default Re: Bactrian Frustration

    Pretty much diferent advise given here.

    Although i can see everyone agrees mines are a must!

    I just started a Baktrian campaign some time ago, and i must tell you this: Blitz all your way to Prophtasia in the south. Focus on getting provinces from the Seleucids that contain mines. They will improve your economy vastly. And leave the rebels alone! It is far easier to take provinces from the AI nations then from AI rebels!

    But really, getting Prophtasia at the start is a must. Extremely weak garrisons in the south, with very profitable provinces. Prophtasia contains a mine at the start, and will make you rich!

    I also do not take Antiocheia-Margiane since it will give me a common border with the Pahlava at the start, which makes things bad. Oh and another tip: remember that if Saka Rauka holds Alexandreia-Eschate for 4 years, they will get their so wanted reforms and will be a pain in the ass.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Bactrian Frustration

    If you really want Prophtasia, ship your spies and assassin and cause enough unrest so it rebels , then take it.It reduces risk of AS declaring war on you right away slightly. Sometimes they are to busy with Pahlava, and you taking rebel city doesn't tick them off that much.

    They will attack you soon either way.

    After playing Baktria several times in several versions i can say from my view:

    - Taking Alexandreia-Eschate = early war with Saka and sometimes with Pahlava or AS
    - Taking Marakanda = early war with all of 3 factions
    - Taking Antiocheia-Margiane = early war with Pahlava and AS

    Neither of them is economically justifiable early on since you gonna need tons of units to hold on to them.Way more upkeep then income from it.

    I usually support Pahlava , sign ceasefire and trade with Saka ASAP(never sign alliance with them ) and take Kophen. If Pahlava takes Marakanda then they end up in war with Saka first, rather any of them attacks me.If Saka gets their first , well then they will go after you most likely, although lot of times they prefer Khiva.

    However , they all going to attack you as soon you upgrade your mine in Baktria, AI loves those mines i guess.

    Never build road in Baktria province till you have good, strong garrison there that can beat anything that comes. And.. build mines and walls ..lots of it.
    Last edited by mlp071; 02-14-2009 at 01:29.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Bactrian Frustration

    Thanks for the advice that is given here. Many things are quite contradictory. So, apart from taking Kophen I've made every possible mistake I think I'll restart my campaign completely and develop Bactra and Kophen while trying to rebel AS towns and support Pahlava.

    That Indian town garrison is extremely strong. I've managed to damage their support units, but couldn't hurt their core units - Guild Warriors and especially the elephants. The general has 46 elephants and they also have 2 more elephant units which makes it nearly 80 elephants They've cut through my native phalanxes like hot knife through butter.

  12. #12
    Member Member Raygereio's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bactrian Frustration

    I'm with the take-it-slow crowd.
    Take Kophen with your starting armies. Then spent some time saving up money and slowly build up an army to take the indian provinces.
    Meanwhile the Seleukids will attack Baktria and probably Kophen; they never sent anything really threatening in my games. A couple of archers and some thorakitai can easily hold the walls.

    Once you take the indian cities, you should be swimming in cash.

    As for the indian cities.
    Skirmishers do wonders against elephants, also archers can work.
    When besieging the Indian city, I placed those units on an section of wall on the other site of city where the AI had put his men on the walls.
    Then I lured the elephants to wall with my ranged units on it with an expendable unit and watched those poor beasts either drop like flies, or when the skirmishers were out of ammo, go bezerk of flaming arrows.

    Guild Warriors I took out with my FM's. Charge, retreat, charge again, repeat until they rout.
    Last edited by Raygereio; 02-13-2009 at 21:29.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Bactrian Frustration

    Man I can't wait to play EBII where there will be proper diplomatic AI instead of auto-war.
    OMG I haz a balloon,
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  14. #14
    Guest Dayve's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bactrian Frustration

    Quote Originally Posted by Raygereio View Post
    I'm with the take-it-slow crowd.
    Take Kophen with your starting armies. Then spent some time saving up money and slowly build up an army to take the indian provinces.
    Meanwhile the Seleukids will attack Baktria and probably Kophen; they never sent anything really threatening in my games. A couple of archers and some thorakitai can easily hold the walls.

    Once you take the indian cities, you should be swimming in cash.

    As for the indian cities.
    Skirmishers do wonders against elephants, also archers can work.
    When besieging the Indian city, I placed those units on an section of wall on the other site of city where the AI had put his men on the walls.
    Then I lured the elephants to wall with my ranged units on it with an expendable unit and watched those poor beasts either drop like flies, or when the skirmishers were out of ammo, go bezerk of flaming arrows.

    Guild Warriors I took out with my FM's. Charge, retreat, charge again, repeat until they rout.
    Skirmishers aren't actually any good whatsoever against those 3 units of Indian elephants in that one city on the edge of the map.

    I sent 3 units of slingers and 3 units of akontistai to defeat them and even with all of them expending all their ammo they didn't kill a single elephant in all 3 units.

  15. #15
    Member Member Raygereio's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bactrian Frustration

    Quote Originally Posted by Dayve View Post
    Skirmishers aren't actually any good whatsoever against those 3 units of Indian elephants in that one city on the edge of the map.

    I sent 3 units of slingers and 3 units of akontistai to defeat them and even with all of them expending all their ammo they didn't kill a single elephant in all 3 units.
    What difficulty did you use? Peltastai on medium difficulty make short work of them.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Bactrian Frustration

    I exiled myself to Taxshila, built up an army and conquered all indian provinces as well as leaving Baktria to rebel, to create a buffer between me and the AS.
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    Pċ knä I Eljudne mottag död mans dom, Mot död och helsvite, ert öde och pinoplats

  17. #17

    Default Re: Bactrian Frustration

    Some heavy spearmen should perform best against the Elephants. I remember when i faced Carthage once as Rome, i butched a full division of Elephants with a Triarii in VH/VH.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Bactrian Frustration

    I usually use mix of Pantodapoi Phalangitai , Persian Spearmen-archers and couple of Persian archers and Peltasts. But i bring enough troops so they don't sally till last turn.As soon Elephants come into the range , i just pepper them with concentrated fire arrows(and any other missiles i have) till they panic and run over half of the Eleutheroi.

    Just make sure that they don't run over you, when they get panicked.Keep your FM close by and blow their horn every chance you get. Once i even charged my FM into them when they were close to going amok, that was crazy and fun .

    It works most of the times(like 4 of 5), but not always, so be ready to retreat if things go really bad.If it does work , keep the distance and enjoy the show.

    Why kill them when you can use them to kill your enemy and die while doing that

    P.S. to OP: There is no "wrong" way of playing campaign, just way you like and you don't like to play. You will fight them all in the end anyways.
    Last edited by mlp071; 02-14-2009 at 02:11. Reason: spelling

  19. #19
    Slixpoitation Member A Very Super Market's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bactrian Frustration

    I took Kophen in my game, then moved on to Alexandreia-Eschate (on H only BTW) The seleucids will try and kill you anyways, and it's good to keep it out of Saka hands. Armoured Horse Archers are a pain until you get reforms yourself. Three territories will allow you to support a garrison and army, though building anything big will definitely put you in debt. If you want more cash, take Chach, which the Saka will generally ignore in favor of A-E for some strange reason. If you want a challenge, try and take that town NE of Baktra's territory.

    I married off my daughters to completely unsuitable husbands, just for the bodyguards. They will be your lifeblood for a while, since disbanding that stupid medium cavalry unit leaves with only them. You could try hiring HA mercs in the Steppes, since they have low upkeep, but generally keep it to persian-archers or archer-spearmen, plus one or two "holding" infantry (phalanx)
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  20. #20

    Default Re: Bactrian Frustration

    Dont call Median Cavalry, stupid!

    They rock...

    In my current game as Baktria, i adopted a total southern strategy and guess what... 268 or so and i own most of persia!

    Persia is full of mines! Cash, baby, Cash. Getting about 4000 mnai a turn and with a nice army around. Of course all these conflicts drew me close to Parthia... Just hope the bastards dont betray me soon... Not willingly to start facing horse archers so soon.

  21. #21
    Slixpoitation Member A Very Super Market's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bactrian Frustration

    They're okay, but 500 upkeep is too much for early-game Baktria.

    Parthia will betray you eventually. But they will be easier than Saka since they will use some infantry, which you can easily crush. Run all the way to their cities, as fast as you can, and they will be a sinch. Also try and stay by the mountains, for the extra range.
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  22. #22
    Cavalry Fanatic Member Tolg's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bactrian Frustration

    Quote Originally Posted by A Very Super Market View Post
    They're okay, but 500 upkeep is too much for early-game Baktria.

    Parthia will betray you eventually.
    In my Bactria campaign (H/M) Pahlava was allied with me until I had crushed the Arche ~220BC (My western most settlement was Babylon, Pahlava's Seleukeia. The yellow death took care of the rest.)

    What I did: I started giving them 100 minai ~every three turns as soon as I could afford it and I didn't take settlements they were interested in. (e.g. Antiocheia-Margiane & Zadrakata).
    Instead I expanded into India, the garrisons there are strong, but the settlements are worth it. They're rich and - more importantly - safe.
    Though my army got annihilated the first time I tried to take Taksashila which wasn't as bad as one could think, it really helped my economy.
    Just don't forget to leave a decent garrison in Bactra.


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  23. #23
    alterego Member Tartaros's Avatar
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    Default AW: Bactrian Frustration

    i first grab the sele-city´s south of baktria and a bit later kophen. once gone, the distance for the a.s. is bigger to create punishmentstacks (mostly from persepolis or susa) and i have a buffer. they send constantly half stacks with poor infantry - good to get some chevrons for my army. main advantage - because of the distance they can not rout to friendly arrea. they simply disappear after a lost battle...
    hekatompylos becomes a battlefield between pahlava and a.s., so there´s time to conquer india and probably some northern territory´s. i try to build stonewalls as sone as i can. they are the best defence against pahlava and the saka rauka. i try to conquer india, as my economy allows me to build a expiditionforce and save my iranian holdings.
    i also never trust my allies (if i have some - mostly i stay neutral). if they see weakness, they come and attack me (AI).

  24. #24
    iudex thervingiorum Member athanaric's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bactrian Frustration

    Seeing as there are multiple help threads for Baktria, here's an idea:

    We could open one strategy/help thread for each faction where everybody can post his advice and thoughts.


    I'd leave the settlements north of Baktria be. Let the Seleukids defend these against Pahlava and Saka. Focus on Kophen and Taksashila instead, as well as on the AS settlements south of Baktria. Hordes of skirmishers, especially Peltastai, should do the trick in India, as massive javelin fire is the fastest way to kill Elephants in EB (tested in numerous battles). Use archers and additional javelineers or slingers to shoot down the Guild Warriors and the Longbowmen.

    Apart from the already-mentioned Pantodapoi Phalangitai, Dahae Riders and Parthian Spearmen, these guys are your friends:



    Baktrian Hillmen, they have javelins and AP axes. Just keep them away from HAs.

    Upgrade the mines in Kophen first because they yield more than the ones in Baktra.

    Never play on Hard or Very Hard battle difficulty. It is pointless and unrealistic.




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  25. #25
    Cavalry Fanatic Member Tolg's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bactrian Frustration

    Quote Originally Posted by athanaric View Post
    I'd leave the settlements north of Baktria be. Let the Seleukids defend these against Pahlava and Saka. Focus on Kophen and Taksashila instead, as well as on the AS settlements south of Baktria. Hordes of skirmishers, especially Peltastai, should do the trick in India, as massive javelin fire is the fastest way to kill Elephants in EB (tested in numerous battles). Use archers and additional javelineers or slingers to shoot down the Guild Warriors and the Longbowmen.
    I prefer using Akontistai or Eastern Skirmishers over Peltastai (only when hunting elephants), because of their higher numbers which make them throw more javelins hence killing more elephants in one volley. Though, of course, Peltastai do better against the Indian spearman and archers.


    The first round of the tournament has started. Who's going to prevail?

    Gladius or Sarissa, Scutum or Aspis?

  26. #26
    Slixpoitation Member A Very Super Market's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bactrian Frustration

    The Seleucids can't defend them, and since they are so big, you won't be able to appease them without ludicrous amounts of tribute. The point of taking A-E is to deprive Saka their reforms, which are a massive pain far greater than the infantry armies of AS.
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    They make deli slices of frozen pepsi now? Awesome!
    You also need to purchase a small freezer for storage of your pepsi.
    It runs on batteries. You'll need a few.
    Uhh, I guess I won't have pepsi then. Do you have change for a twenty?
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  27. #27

    Default Re: Bactrian Frustration

    In my game (230-something BC) I have Baktra, Kophen and Taksashila, and honestly making more money than I need, just buiding up and preparing an expedition to those two other Indian regions. I've supported Pahlava in the beginning, so the AS attacked me (but only after ten years of peace, yay!). AS has almost crushed Pahlava (I think the only reason they're still standing is that it takes too long to bring armies there), but Alexandropolis revolted to them for some reason (actually I made it revolt... I had no idea it would go to Pahlava though). And AS is still holding Alexandria-Eschate against all odds! They're serving their purpose for the time being.

    About elephants: I completely wiped out those Taskashila ones with a furious charge from my generals (I had seven generals... maybe that's why it worked, but they had Early Bodyguard), they routed almost immediately. The only one that gave me trouble was the one unit which stood on the square, seeing as they didn't run. Cost me a lot of good men.

  28. #28
    Member Member jerjes78's Avatar
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    Unhappy Re: Bactrian Frustration

    Damn, finally I got conquered by Palhava in 167 BC. After 20 years of semi-consecutied sieges over Baktra, I was able to raise and army and take Alexandreia Ariana, but 2 turns later Ptolemai DOW on me and that was the beginning of the end. With constant sieges by the yellow death Iwasnt able to retrained my sorrounded army in Aria and finally they succumbed. That was the time that those pink bastards decided to lay siege on my last city . With 1 FM and 3 eastern skirmisher a couldnt stand a chance. However, this was one of the most enjoyable campaign I had ever play on any RTW mod

    PS: 20 minutes later I started another campaign with the fellow Baktrians (I'm becoming addict to these guys

  29. #29

    Default Re: Bactrian Frustration

    I've played afew Baktria campaigns and my biggest problem was that focusing purely on the rebel settlements first was a very slow process because of economy and their large garrisons. Thus, in my most recent campaign I did the following:

    - Disbanded the cavalry unit (far too expensive and not needed because of FMs)
    - left 1-2 phalanx units in Baktra along with 1-2 archers and an FM (you can actually build archers here if you want since they're so cheap and can be retrained aswell to recover loses)
    - merged the rest of my forces and marched south straight towards the AS with the plan being that I would blitz through their territories until I met harsh resistence.

    This plan worked extremely well for many reasons:
    - The Pahlav usually seem to attack AS in turn one which keeps most of their and the AS northern forces pre-occupied fighting bloody battles
    - Alot of the southern AS territories are actually very poorly defended, with no large stacks in sight (unlike most of the rebel territories with their large garrisons)
    - The saka shouldn't bother you for atleast 5-10 years, as they should be pre-occupied with gaining rebel settlements and maybe attacking the AS/Pahlav
    - Alot of southern AS territories have mines
    - The Baktra garrison I left (mentioned earlier) can actually see off most half stacks with relative ease when used right while defending so I didn't have to worry too much about being sacked there.
    - The army you use actually relies heavily on your many archers, who will rip through most AS units you face early on with relative ease
    -Typically , in most campaigns, the AS will backstab you at some point when they've built up enough armies. This blitz on their cities prevents them from massing large stacks quickly, and for use of a better term, "catches them with their pants down".

    This campaign has been one of my most enjoyable EB campaigns yet, fighting the AS from the get go is alot of fun. The AS have only recently started to counter-attack with any real purpose (my cuurent count of AS territories claimed is 8, and they have about 5 northern territories now cut off from their core eastern empire, while still at war with the Pahlav), and the Saka have finally started to attack me aswell but I've had the economy to build a new northern army to fend any threats off. I usually try to get the Saka to fight me on bridges using phalanx units at the end of the bridge and all other units out of missile range, except maybe afew archer units and then wait for them to cross.

    I'm not saying attacking AS this way is fool proof, but it's one of the easiest early games i've had with Baktria, and it's always fun giving the AS a good kicking no matter what faction you play as.

  30. #30

    Default Re: Bactrian Frustration

    Yeah, pretty much what i do as well SOSamurai. I would just like to point out that everyone should build stone walls asap. Specialy in Baktra, which allows you to leave a small garrison there at the start, and focus elsewhere.

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