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Thread: Mercs

  1. #1
    Senior Member Senior Member ReluctantSamurai's Avatar
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    Default Mercs

    Something I've seen very little mention of in campaigns here is the use of mercs. In R1, depending on which faction I played, mercs were a very important component of my armies at least in the early going. Even mid to late game, I used mercs just for the fun factor.

    So my question is...are mercs just not that good or too expensive for what they might contribute, or are faction rosters good enough from start to finish?
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  2. #2
    Stranger in a strange land Moderator Hooahguy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mercs

    In my current campaign I hired about 5-6 units of mercs and it wrecked my economy. I had to disband them two turns later or I faced bankruptcy. As for effectiveness, Im not sure as I didnt really check their stats.
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Mercs

    Bought a few but most of the time I don't bother. Mostly it's to get access to unit types I don't normally have yet.

  4. #4
    Praeparet bellum Member Quillan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mercs

    As Rome, typical italian spear unit costs about 85 per turn maintenance. The same unit as a mercenary costs 400 per turn maintenance. Recruiting (hiring) costs aren't outrageous, but the per turn cost is insane.
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Mercs

    Quote Originally Posted by Hooahguy View Post
    In my current campaign I hired about 5-6 units of mercs and it wrecked my economy. I had to disband them two turns later or I faced bankruptcy. As for effectiveness, Im not sure as I didnt really check their stats.

    Yes to follow up on this. I would hire a few mercs to help take or defend a region and then basically disband them once the battle was over to save costs. It was cheaper to just rehire them again basically.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Senior Member ReluctantSamurai's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mercs

    Recruiting (hiring) costs aren't outrageous, but the per turn cost is insane.
    It was cheaper to just rehire them again basically.
    I wonder why CA set up recruiting to basically discourage the use of mercs? Gameplay aside, Rome & Carthage both historically made extensive use of mercs, and I believe the Ptolemaics and Seleucids, as well. Seems counter-intuitive to have upkeep costs be higher than recruitment costs
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  7. #7
    Stranger in a strange land Moderator Hooahguy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mercs

    If I had to guess its to discourage using a lot of mercs for ones army. Im not so sure about the historical validity of this, but it would make sense to keep the mercs hired for a short period, and the longer you keep them the more it will cost you, so recruiting them as extra manpower for that one assault on that city when you need more numbers is fine, but hiring them for a length of time more than one or two turns is really gonna cost you.

    EDIT: I would actually love a system where the price which you hire the mercs for would cover two turns worth of service, so like if hiring some spearmen would cost 400 coin but the next two turns were upkeep free for those mercs, and after those two turns they would go back to requiring upkeep.
    Last edited by Hooahguy; 09-23-2013 at 05:30.
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  8. #8
    Member Member Sp4's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mercs

    I have only ever recruited two units of mercs in my Gaul campaign and decided they are too expensive to bother, especially early on, when I felt I needed the extra manpower. As Rome you get Auxiliaries. They are the same as mercs, just cheaper than for any other faction. Downside, you have to build a level two baracks in whatever region you want 'mercs' from but they literally cost nothing to upkeep. Like a tenth of what normal mercs cost.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Mercs

    Modern mercenaries (Blackwater etc.) commonly pull down salaries that are 4-5 times the total compensation provided for an equivalent soldier serving under national colors. In salary alone it is roughly an order of magnitude greater -- but the mercenary bears a far larger personal cost as equipage etc. is not paid for by the polity.

    Since, given the game's engine, you cannot send your mercenaries off to sack Damascus before the rest of the army gets there in order to give them a bonus, it is likely that Rome 2 is factoring in their "share of the plunder" as well as a higher basic wage (mercs of the era were paid analogous to journeymen craftpersons at double the effective wage of a farmer/herder) in determining their higher upkeep. In addition, there is probably a play-balancing component to it, otherwise why would you develop anything economically or otherwise past a small initial area? Just rent an army and go plundering until all the other factions are dead, then go back and wax the wimpy rebels for the easy win. I recall doing more or less just that in Rome1 with its comparatively cheap mercs -- gamey as all get-out, but it worked.
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  10. #10

    Default Re: Mercs

    Carthage gets reduced upkeep for mercs. Their auxiliary barracks reduces fees also. Research may reduce the fees also; I can't remember exactly.
    They may be the only faction that can consistently keep mercs in their armies.

    There are even some objectives in the Carthage campaign along the lines of "Have 15 mercenaries in your armies."

  11. #11

    Default Re: Mercs

    Is there some terminology-mixing in this thread? Specifically, some of the comments seem to be substituting the term "merc" for "auxiliary".

    In the Roman case, the troops recruited from the Aux Barracks line in Italia or Magna Grecia (Socii Hastati, Socii Equites, etc) are auxiliaries, not mercenaries. They are obtained with the "Recruit Unit" button, not the "Hire Mercenaries" button. They require 1 turn (or more, for a longer queue) to recruit. Once in the army, the color scheme of their unit cards is the same as for the other (i.e., true Roman) troops. The upkeep costs of these troops are consistent with Roman units, and it's quite viable to maintain these units in the army long-term.

    Mercenaries, by contrast, are obtained using the "Hire Mercenaries" button, are instantly included in the army on same turn, and have a different unit-card color scheme (kind of an olive-brown vice red). These are the troops with the high upkeep costs.

    This seems a pretty clear distinction. I have not, however, built (or kept) an Aux Barracks in provinces outside Italy. Does this distinction get muddled elsewhere? Does the presence of military buildings affect the number and type of hire-able mercenary (vice aux) units?

    In any case, for a while I tried a model of forming a standardized "nucleus" of Roman troops in my legions, like 10-12 units or so, with the idea of temporarily buffing up those spots with mercenary troops for attacks (primarily missile troops and cannon fodder), then letting them go. This idea didn't work out for me because I usually found that when I wanted to hire mercs, often the unit types and numbers I wanted were not available in whatever province my legion was located.

  12. #12
    Member Member Sp4's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mercs

    No, they don't ever get mixed up but auxiliaries are kind of fancy. I have a bunch of legions that have a core of some Italian cavalry and legionaires, and then it gets wild XD Some German longbow hunters here, some African spearmen there, some elephants and what not. I've got one legion that started out conquering Carthage and Lybia and picked up some auxiliary Numedian javelins. Later, they ended up in Germania and picked up some auxiliary spear brothers and archers, then they ended up in Spain and picked up some auxiliary Iberian cavalry and some Celtic horses and now they're literally a really colourful bunch ^^

  13. #13

    Default Re: Mercs

    Why did you just define what we all already knew?

  14. #14

    Default Re: Mercs

    Yes, Carthage gets a straight up 40% reduction in upkeep and a 15% reduction through technology. It's still very expensive, though, until I pretty much got enough income to support it. Even then, the only mercs I have right now are slingers and bowmen, which are unavailable to the faction otherwise.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Mercs

    Quote Originally Posted by AntiDamascus View Post
    Why did you just define what we all already knew?
    Because when I initially read through the comments in the thread, underlying assumptions of what "aux" and "merc" meant didn't seem consistent. Upon re-read, however, I was wrong....so I guess I was the only one temporarily confused.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Mercs

    Well then apologies from me. The post was a nice summation of the discussion though.

  17. #17
    Strategist and Storyteller Member Myth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mercs

    A unit of merc cav I hired as Rome I kicked out as soon as I saw it costs as much as 3 units of Pretorian Cohorts. The costs are prohibitive for anything other than a band aid solution for right before a clutch battle.
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  18. #18
    Senior Member Senior Member ReluctantSamurai's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mercs

    I recall doing more or less just that in Rome1 with its comparatively cheap mercs -- gamey as all get-out, but it worked.
    Cheap compared to what? The mercs I preferred to hire were mostly 1000+ denarii to hire and several hundred per turn to keep (Bastarnae, Elephants, Sarmatian Cavalry) although I always thought "Creeshan Arshers" @ 750 were a bit cheap...

    the only mercs I have right now are slingers and bowmen, which are unavailable to the faction otherwise
    a band aid solution for right before a clutch battle
    I certainly used mercs for the 2nd reason above, especially when a siege-relieving army turned out to be much bigger then I thought....

    ....but I mostly used them for the 1st reason; to get a unit that was unavailable to me normally. And I used them for a 'fun' factor, as well. Loved Arab Cavalry, those scimitar-wielding maniacs that could chase down any routing cav unit in the game under desert conditions; loved Bastarnae because they just looked cool, could run across just about any battle map and arrive merely "winded", and they had a knack for killing enemy generals; loved "Creeshans" for obvious reasons besides hearing that ethic retort when you selected their unit; loved Spanish Mercenaries (when playing a non-Roman faction) as a spear-chucking skirmisher unit that could switch to melee when needed......

    And besides:

    and now they're literally a really colourful bunch ^^
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  19. #19

    Default Re: Mercs

    I used mercs in the begining of the campaign to conquer and fight battles with the ods against me and dispand them after.
    I only keep the Cretan archers units, and later in the campaign, with the economy flourishing, any merc elephand unit i could get and scythian and parthian horse archers, as i think these are worth having in an army mostly Hellenistic as Macedon.
    In general i agree with the point that as historicaly happened, you use them for a period of time and when you have achived your objective, you dismise them.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Mercs

    Since we are talking about mercenaries, has any one noticed if there are dacian falxmen units in the game?
    I think there are not any merc units but are there units available for the factions that originaly start at Dacia?
    Just curious.

  21. #21
    Floating Man Member Wilbo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mercs

    I think the Blackwater argument above is entirely valid, and it's much the same for IT companies when they hire a private contractor to do a specific piece of work - it's often cheaper in the long run to hire and disband a group of expensive contractors (often on 24hr notice periods), than hiring and then having to maintain (or make redundant) permanent employees.

    As such, I often hire mercs 'in the field' shortly before a large battle or siege. I send them in first, and disband them afterwards. Wouldn't you expect higher pay for that kind of service?
    Last edited by Wilbo; 09-25-2013 at 09:04.

  22. #22
    Member Member Sp4's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mercs

    I either never have room in my armies to use mercs like that and if I do, I have no money.

  23. #23

    Default Re: Mercs

    Quote Originally Posted by Wilbo View Post
    As such, I often hire mercs 'in the field' shortly before a large battle or siege. I send them in first, and disband them afterwards. Wouldn't you expect higher pay for that kind of service?
    How do you get around the problem that there often are very few, or even zero, mercs available in whatever province you've invaded? This is the dead-end which led me to stop trying to use this practice.

    Finding mercs when/where you can use them for a turn or two seems more difficult in R2 than it was in R1.

  24. #24
    Strategist and Storyteller Member Myth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mercs

    I've stopped using mercs as I got better at TW games. I now plan my wars and fill up my stacks well enough to not need "oh damn!" troop reinforcemetns. Maybe if I meet more enemies than I expected and thus suffer casualties, I'd get them in R1 or M2, but since units magically auto-replenish here and one does not need to merge them to fiill their ranks, I can't do this and instead just wait for a turn or two (depending on how much food surplus I have).
    The art of war, then, is governed by five constant
    factors, to be taken into account in one's deliberations,
    when seeking to determine the conditions obtaining in the field.

    These are: (1) The Moral Law; (2) Heaven; (3) Earth;
    (4) The Commander; (5) Method and discipline.
    Sun Tzu, "The Art of War"
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  25. #25

    Default Re: Mercs

    I played through a Carthage campaign and used mercs a lot. THe initial costs are no problem at all, and while the massive upkeep costs hurt my econamy the reason for using mercs at all was simple. They appear instantly. Therefore I let my main armies go on the rampage with 10-12 units in them, the core units I need and no specialised ones, then hire whatever mercs fill the role the night before the battle and go on a killing spree. With carthage getting more mercs than most as well as local mercs it meant my 12 unit stack just bacame a 18 unit stack in the blink of an eye without the initial cost being that bad.

    I tended to keep most of them around, but disbanded the specialised ones like chariots and elephants or shock cavalry.

    On the note of auxiliaries...

    Having the auxilia barracks in the right province allows you to hire units that are normally mercs as auxilia! Thats the entire point of it in my opinion! I made my legions up with cretan archers as the main ranged compnent as soon as I was able by taking Knossos and building ranged buff buildings and auxilia barracks. Sure, it took a while to recruit them all there and ferry them back to the main army staging grounds in italy, but it was definately worth it. Carthage can do similar things with it's version of the barracks, but still I found mercs filled their role very well as them.

    As the barbarian factions I've hired a few mercs when I took unexpected losses, but on a very small scale and always just for the duration of that spate of conquering. My celtic army currently burning britain down has 5 merc units after an embarassing defeat and my units constantly dying of frostbite.
    I was trying to find some help in the ancient military journals of General Tacticus, who's intelligent campaigning had been so successful that he'd lent his very name to the detailed prosecution of martial endeavour, and had actually found a section headed "What To Do If One Army Occupies A Well-Fortified And Superior Ground And The Other Does Not", but since the first sentence read "Endeavour to be the one inside" I'd rather lost heart.

  26. #26
    Member Member Sp4's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mercs

    Quote Originally Posted by Myth View Post
    I've stopped using mercs as I got better at TW games. I now plan my wars and fill up my stacks well enough to not need "oh damn!" troop reinforcemetns. Maybe if I meet more enemies than I expected and thus suffer casualties, I'd get them in R1 or M2, but since units magically auto-replenish here and one does not need to merge them to fiill their ranks, I can't do this and instead just wait for a turn or two (depending on how much food surplus I have).
    Yeah it's a little silly right? I don't think units should replenish this quickly.

    -E- Especially very specialised and 'high tech' units you recruited someone on the other end of the world.

  27. #27
    Senior Member Senior Member ReluctantSamurai's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mercs

    Having the auxilia barracks in the right province allows you to hire units that are normally mercs as auxilia! Thats the entire point of it in my opinion! I made my legions up with cretan archers as the main ranged compnent as soon as I was able by taking Knossos and building ranged buff buildings and auxilia barracks. Sure, it took a while to recruit them all there and ferry them back to the main army staging grounds in italy, but it was definately worth it. Carthage can do similar things with it's version of the barracks, but still I found mercs filled their role very well as them.
    This is what I am talking about. Mercs should cost you plenty, no questions there, but if the approach to mercs is hire/fight/fire, then maybe mercs should come with some buffs like exp. chevrons or upgraded weapons/armor (in R1 some mercs actually did come with one & sometimes two exp. chevrons). In R1 I kept certain types of mercs (Bastarnae, Elephants, Sarmatians, Spanish Mercenaries, Cretan Archers, Arab Cavalry) and used them extensively to get them exp. chevrons. It added to the flavor of the game for me, like playing the Scipii and landing back in Latium at civil war times with my desert forces from N. Africa. It was great fun to stuff my Ellies down the cohorts throats and have my Arab Cavalry trash any cav the other factions wanted to throw at me
    Last edited by ReluctantSamurai; 09-25-2013 at 17:20.
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  28. #28
    Villiage Idiot Member antisocialmunky's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mercs

    Man, a VH merc only variant would be a pretty entertaining to read about.
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  29. #29
    Member Member hoom's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mercs

    The auto-replenishment & especially the rapidity of replenishment makes mercs largely irrelevant for me so-far.
    You can have a bunch of units knocked down to only a couple of guys in a hard fought battle, yet no matter how far from your main recruitment base they'll be back up to full strength in 3 turns max.

    eg In my Sparta campaign, I've only got T4 barracks in Sparta yet my Heroes of Sparta, depleted heavily while taking the most Eastern town were fully recovered in 2 turns.
    I did lose about 6 units outright in one battle & had to hire whatever mercs were available to avoid disaster while sending a new stack.
    Also did hire a couple early on partly while just experimenting on how recruiting works.

    Back in Rome1: RTR/EB a deep campaigning army would often wind up heavily supplemented with local mercs as my faction units were depleted & merged.
    Supporting long range operations could be quite expensive as you would need to be both fielding a large army and significant reinforcement forces on their way to the front or risk your force petering out.

    Perhaps if the auto-replenishment was a bit less aggressive ie took longer like 4-5 turns + extra length the further from nearest base you are, then mercs would be a lot more useful.
    I haven't even bothered to test if you can still merge units within an army...
    maybe those guys should be doing something more useful...

  30. #30
    Stranger in a strange land Moderator Hooahguy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mercs

    On a slightly related note, anyone able to merge units? I tried to a few times but no luck.
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