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Thread: The Northumbrians

  1. #1
    Senior Member Senior Member Cheetah's Avatar
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    Member Member Rufus's Avatar
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    Here's a strategy that worked well for me, although it was my first ever MTW campaign and therefore it was on Easy level

    * Ally with the Mercians and Welsh so you don't have to worry about the powers to the south for a while.

    * Head north to take on the Picts, Scots and Vikings, probably in that order. The Picts will probably be trying to fight the Scots and Vikings when you knock on their door. Then the Scots will be having problems with the Vikings and the Irish. This will get you the income you need to develop trade and defensive armies.

    * Build up a navy as soon as possible, also to defend against Viking raids. Then:

    * Trade, trade, trade. With a few exceptions, the Northumbrian lands and the Pict and Scot lands to the north aren't farming powerhouses. But they do have some nice trade goods.

    * Of the three to your south - Welsh, Mercians and Saxons - two of them (most likely Mercians and Saxons) will likely have a big war. Steer clear, just let your economy chug along on full cylinders so you're in good shape to take on the survivor. Build an army along your southern border to get ready to jump in later. But don't wait till one of them is vanquished to jump in - you don't want all of the Mercian lands going to the Saxons, or vice versa. Obviously it's easier to jump in and snatch up a few Mercian lands during their death throes than would be to take Saxon ones.

    * Once you're facing off against the Mercians and/or the Saxons for full control of Britain, take advantage of your navy to move troops around. Full frontal assaults on multiple provinces simultaneously work well when feasible.

    * Finish off the Welsh after that, but don't underestimate them - they have some tough terrain to fight on.

    * Finally invade Ireland - try to hit all five provinces simultaneously so you don't end up chasing them around the island fruitlessly. Another reason to use overwhelming force is there is no retreat since it's an island.
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    Member Member Rufus's Avatar
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    oh and I forgot - Saxon Huscarles (available to Northumbrians too) absolutely rock
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    Boondock Saint Senior Member The Blind King of Bohemia's Avatar
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    Try to get an alliance with the vikings also. They will raid anywhere and usually with ab alliance they could help to disable the picts, do to the fact that they like the northern isles as naval bases. You could use that time to gang up on the picts or overwhel the scots as for the latter an automatic ceasefire if you drive them back to ulster

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    Senior Member Senior Member katank's Avatar
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    don't forget woodsmen

    they may not seem that tough but in the forests they belong, they rock they are not very vulnerable there to archers or cav and their AP ability can cost effectively destroy many elite units.

    swarming even huscarles with 3-4 units of woodsmen is usually enough to destroy that unit.

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    Boondock Saint Senior Member The Blind King of Bohemia's Avatar
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    Very damaging the old woodsmen

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    Senior Member Senior Member econ21's Avatar
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    Northumbrians can be tough - the major threat is probably Mercia, which can get huge armies from its wealth and when it starts to outnumber you in Huscarls, you are in trouble.

    I agree with much of the strategy suggested above that worked on easy, but with one major exception - it is probably a mistake to stay out of a Saxon-Mercian war. I would pile in on the Mercians as soon as the war breaks out. Mercia cannot stand against both you and the Saxons. When the dust settles, you'll have half or more of Mercia. The alternative would be to risk facing an amalgamated Mercia/Saxon kingdom of whatever colour that would be almost unbeatable.

    Here's what worked for me:

    Building priorities: build up your army and navy like crazy. It is important to deterr Viking aggression, so when you have a choice, load your armies into provinces with patrolling Viking ships - taking special care to protect abbeys.

    For starter troops, I like armies with up to 3 archers plus fyrd led by some mounted nobles.

    Even more than troop building, getting a navy is my priority. I build ships in the developed central eastern coastal province and then in the western coastal province with trade goods. The initial imperative is to have ships off all your coasts to prevent Viking landings. Then, if you build ships for every sea, you can become the richest faction through trade.

    In other building upgrades, I aim for Huscarls as number 1 priority, armoured spearmen number 2, horse number 3. A balanced army would have 3 archers, 3-4 armoured spears, 2-3 huscarls, 1 cav. Have these in all border provinces and you should be safe and have the basis for your force to invade Mercia.

    For safety, I build Huscarls in the non-coastal central province although you could get them quicker on the central Eastern coastal province.

    I build armoured spears in the north western coastal province which has iron. The odd horseman (you ideally want 1/army min) comes from here.

    With only two main troop building provinces, I focussed on building up the others in other dimensions - esp. trade, but also agriculture.


    Who to attack

    I try to play a pacific early game, accepting all alliances and only hitting rebels. Taking the strong rebels on the north west province will eliminate a threat and provide a buffer zone for your key troop building border province (the one with iron). The rebels in the island in the Irish sea are an attractive target (they have iron), as are those in Wales (esp. those with gold). Watch out for rebellions in Scotland - they allowed me to expand there a lot without war. I would not garrison acquired scattered rebel territories so heavily, but build ports in them asap to keep mobile.

    I find Mercia to be the main threat. By using border forts and princesses, I waited to see when Mercia got a palace (allows Huscarls). Ideally, you will get huscarls first. If that is so, I would be inclined to invade as soon as Mercia also gets huscarls - you do not want rich Mercia to be cranking out huscarls. However, if the Saxons strike first, I would advocate invading Mercia immediately. Try to take all bordering Mercian lands using your border defence armies plus a reserve, then try to pre-empt Saxon acquisitions. You'll probably end up with half Mercia facing a formiddable Saxon kingdom. However, you should have an edge due to trade and a focussed building program (all huscarls/armoured spearmen come from iron rich provinces with upgrades and you have a lot of archers).

    After Mercia is wrecked, Wales is an obvious target - it will rationalise your borders and set you up for the climatic battle with the Saxons.

    Going north into Scottish and Pictish lands is nice, as there is usually only a narrow two-province front. But I think ultimately this is secondary to the confrontation with Mercia and Saxony. I do not regard the Scots and the Picts as a real threat, so I would be inclined to postpone it until the mopping up stage of the game.

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    Member Member ah_dut's Avatar
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    the scots aren't a threat but the damnable picts have celts, eeeek... they are heavy

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    Senior Member Senior Member katank's Avatar
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    their x-bows are the bigger threat in being AP missiles and can outrange all of your missiles.

    but you have your horsemen, charge those cheapo missiles and dont' worry if they rout because that would most likely lure the enemy right into your forward missile battery just out of range of their's.

  10. #10

    Default Re: The Northumbrians

    Northumbria is lucky to have easily secured borders. The first thing Northumbrians have to do is occupy Reget, and then fortify their borders of Dere, Pec Saetan, Lothene, and Reget. Reget can be defended by a samller force, being mostly mountains, but the other three have to be heavily garrisoned. One you have secured your homeland, it is a good idea to head north, and just sweep all of Scotland before headign south. As always, a navy is essential to delaying the Vikings and protecting your heartland provinces from attack.
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  11. #11

    Default Re: The Northumbrians

    I am currently playing a Northumbrian campaign on hard setting until 880, and while i would agree with most of what i've read on previous posts i would take issue with a couple of them.

    1. With regard to navy and building up trade, it hasnt worked for me. While Beornice and and the province south of it have good trade possibilities, the vikings keep sinking my ships and this makes a trade impossible. Furthermore its expensive and this money could be better spent on a larger army.

    2. Also the idea of building up Elmete to produce Huscarls because it can give a weapon and armour bonus, while a great idea, hasn't been viable for me financially. Still v2 woodsmen are pretty good.

    3. Lastly, i would say that trying to take out the picts and scots before heading south is also tricky, since most of their lands are worthless barren wastelands. The only two provinces worth anything are Cyil and the the one the picts have next to it. A better idea might be to take these two provinces and keep raining into the rest of Scotland.

    All the same i think playing as the Northumbrians is the most challenging of the factions in Viking invasion, and therefore probably the most interesting.

  12. #12
    Second-hand chariot salesman Senior Member macsen rufus's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Northumbrians

    I realised recently that the Northumbrians were the only faction I'd not played in VI, despite having played most of the rest at least twice.....

    So playing on expert, my strategy was pretty much as follows:

    1. Make friends with the Vikings ASAP, throw bishops and princesses at them until they say yes!

    2. Develop Elmete as a troop producer ASAP - go for those v2 woodsmen with armour and weapon upgrades. It's not a rich province so forget farms...

    3a. Do NOT defend initial borders heavily - it makes the neighbours nervous
    3b. Bring all your troops into Elmete, except sufficient garrisons in the rest to prevent rebellion. Why? If invaded, the invasion will be small (just enough to beat your garrison) and next year you can counter attack WHAM!! from Elmete - all of your starting provinces are accessible from Elmete, so it is viable to keep one BIG army to counter-attack. Also being totally surrounded by your own lands, watchtowers cannot see the size of your main army, assassins and spies can keep other agents out....

    4. Develop east coast provinces for economic uses - Beornice first for trade, then ships. Dere I developed for farming first to enable v2 horsemen asap, then trade. Cumbri developed for mines and fyrd + weapon upgrade, Pec Saetan for farms and inn, later archers.

    5. Train fyrdmen not spearmen (better stats, lower upkeep).

    6. Try to ally with Mercians and Welsh to keep southern border quiet (for a while). Ally with Scots, they may help you take Rheged (they did for me )

    7. After a few years you'll have a strong army of good troops, a few mines, growing trade and reasonable number of allies. I stayed neutral to the picts as
    they and the Vikings were at war. I took Rheged only once my Elmete army was big enough to split to keep a second big garrison in Rheged (Scots may have been allies but I trust them less than the Vikings who usually behave honourably to allies).

    8. I spread northwards as the Picts attacked me. Taking Fib cripples them, then I pressed on to Monoth which they'd spent quite a lot on .... 3rd big garrison here. (Fib was covered by both Monoth and Rheged).

    9. By now I had enough agents to really stir up things in Scottish lands, and with some good luck, they plunged into civil war, and I caned the rebels taking most of their provinces, whilst still staying allied to the Scots loyalists.

    10. It's about this time the Mercians attacked, and all our mutual allies came over to my side Then my big high valour, teched up army of fyrd, woodsmen, horsemen, archers and royals (and first few huscarles) really surprised the Mercians as they flew out of Elmete on the counterattack....

    I'm now chewing through the Mercians to the south, picts and rebels to the north, and reckon the game is about won, all major threats either neutralised or severely weakened.
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  13. #13
    Enlightened Despot Member Vladimir's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Northumbrians

    Nice summary! I've always been apprehensive about playing them but now I think I'll give them a shot.


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    Second-hand chariot salesman Senior Member macsen rufus's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Northumbrians

    I'm at the end-game now. Scots and picts are gone (the Scots' last province was Munster in southern Ireland!) The Mercians collapsed in civil war, as did the Saxons after attacking me a couple of times, then the last Saxon king died, so mopping up the south from rebels was a walkover.

    I'd spent about thirty turns without battles just to allow my mounted nobles to come on line (now have them with silver weapons and armour from Elmete ), but they're not that much better than v2 horsemen, really.

    The Welsh suddenly erupted into civil war for no discernible reason, and I now control all of the mainland (bar two Welsh provinces), Isle of Man, Scottish islands, and Jutland (spy to cause rebellion, then emissaries to bribe the rebels).

    Ireland is shared between Irish and Welsh, and the Vikings are holed up in Hordaland waiting my invasion from Jutland, once I get enough boats out of Jutland.

    My typical army now is 3-4 archers (v2), 4-5 fyrd, 2 huscarles, 2-3 woodsmen (v2), 4-5 cavalry (nobles, Royals or horsemen) with most of the melee types teched up to silver weapons and armour. Pretty unstoppable.

    Oh, and the Vikings are still my allies after all this time so I may have to attack an ally after all....
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    Member Member Agent Miles's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Northumbrians

    The Northumbrians are listed as very hard, but are actually quite easy. The first turn, build an inn in Dere and start moving everything you have there. By the third turn you should be ready to invade Mierce (don’t forget to buy mercenaries). The Mercians run from the only province where they can build anything. While you chase their King down he will continue to run, as you pick up his provinces one by one. Let one province rebel back to Mercia. That way you can ransom their king after he runs out of places to retreat to. Now, do the same thing to the Saxons by invading West Saexe. I had crushed the Mercians by 804 and the Saxons joined them in 819. Vikings and rebels will raid your territory, so you must stay alert. By the time you have spies in Jutland and Hordaland, the Vikings are going to stop raiding in strength and the rebels are not too aggressive. A temporary alliance with the Welsh helps too. Soon after, you'll be able to produce, valour 1 Saxon Huscarles, v3 Horsemen, v3 archers and v2 Fyrdmen. 2EZ.
    Last edited by Agent Miles; 10-04-2007 at 14:15.
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