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Thread: Investigation of the Phalanx formation

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    Research Fiend Technical Administrator Tetris Champion, Summer Games Champion, Snakeman Champion, Ms Pacman Champion therother's Avatar
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    Default Investigation of the Phalanx formation

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    (This thread is a pruned merging of two threads transferred into the Ludus Magna from the Colosseum. The threads were frogbeastegg's Step two three, shuffle two three, dance two three : the big phalanx question, and Doug-Thompson's A thin line of spears. Click the appropriate links to see the originals.)
    Last edited by therother; 03-23-2005 at 18:43.
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  2. #2

    Default Investigation of the Phalanx formation

    EDIT: This was originally started and investigated under 1.1. 1.2 made significant changes to phalanx units, so it may not be 100% accurate now.

    The subject of today's froggy question to gather information for the guide is the phalanx. Yes, them yet again. This time it is a very simple, deceptively so, topic with no rank bonuses, stats, coding or anything to examine, nor any begging for a CA demigod to descend from on high and help.

    Today's question: How do you get your phalanx to attack?

    This might sound dumb, but it really is not. You see I find it impossible to get a phalanx to reliably engage in combat. At this point I should note in big, bold letters please do not reply with something entirely useless like "just right click on the enemy", if that worked I would not be posting this!. Also please do not tell me that the right shuffle is historical - I know, and it is irrelevant to this discussion.

    There are several ways to try and get a phalanx to attack:

    1. Leave the unit in guard mode and phalanx formation and right click the enemy once. This leads to, more often than not, the phalanx standing just out of range and shuffling to the right. They say they are fighting but they definitely are not; there is a definite gap between the spear/pike points and the enemy, no fighting animations are playing, and no one is dying. Alternatively the phalanx will sometimes lose its cohesion without doing much and will stand around as it is slaughtered, until suddenly remembering that death is an undesirable thing and fighting back in a piecemeal, disordered fashion using both swords and spears/pikes.

    Occasionally this works, usually against units armed with swords who obligingly walk onto the spear/pike points. I can get it to produce a decent attack maybe one in every four attempts, and one disordered mess one in every four attempts. By attempts I mean clean, fresh situations, not wheeling about and moving in a combat situation after fighting for a while already. If you are already vaguely close to the enemy then they tend to lose cohesion and go into the piecemeal state described above. Fair enough; the phalanx is not famous for being manoeuvrable.

    2. Have the phalanx in guard/phalanx mode and order them to move behind the enemy unit in a straight line so their path rams right into the enemy. This is recommended by CA on the Res Romanae.

    This either works or kills your unit outright. Imagine a unit of 240 silver shield pikemen drawn up into 6 ranks. Imagine how deep that formation is. Now multiply that depth by 6 to get a distance. That is roughly the amount of empty space you need between your unit and the enemy for this to have a chance of working. If the gap is smaller then your phalanx tend to shoulder their weapons and walk right into the enemy and are cut down without even trying to fight back. If that gap is there then you have a roughly even chance of getting the pike push effect CA talk about, course if you don't your men just walk blindly ahead and die.

    3. Let the enemy come to you; set up in guard/phalanx and never move.

    Yes, this works each and every time unless your enemy has phalanx units too. Problem: This is useless in MP as no one is stupid enough to walk into the front of a phalanx. The AI is helpful like that; people aren't.


    I spent about an hour testing this last night with [FF]Louis-St-Simurgh and [FF]Darkhalf and it was a farce, a real farce. We had units shuffling so far they ended up behind the enemy's lines and they still refused to hurt anyone. We had units walking right into forests of weapons and dying without even trying to fight back. We had units who stood there for minute after minute and never did anything more than shuffle to the right. Once Louis and Darkhalf managed to get in a position where a phalanx shuffled right into the spear points of another, mincing itself. Needless to say the minced phalanx wasn't doing anything much with the phalanx in front of it, the one it was supposed to be fighting. For that matter the phalanx it was supposed to be fighting was doing nothing much either.

    We used the flat map, 'grassy flatlands', so there were no terrain/height issues. We took about 20 units each, including a couple of cavalry to see how they fared against a phalanx when charging into the flanks and rear, and we got maybe two satisfactory battles out of the whole thing. One of those was caused by Darkhalf leaving his phalanx units stationary while I ordered mine to move behind his from a very long (think the width of one full screen when zoomed out as far as it will go) distance. The other I am not sure; it didn't involve my units and it was getting very late.

    I have also tested it in SP custom mode with the same sorts of results.

    I've finished two Roman short campaigns now; I was thinking of playing the Greeks or Macedonians next but that idea has lost its appeal after these tests.

    So, that's your task - find me a reliable way to make phalanx units fight, against both phalanx and non-phalanx units. In the current version of the guide the phalanx tactics are no more than "stand still, don't ever move and hope the AI is dumb enough to walk into your front." This is obviously no good at all.
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  3. #3
    Nec Pluribus Impar Member SwordsMaster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Step two three, shuffle two three, dance two three : the big phalanx question

    Its not exactly a scientific proof, but.... if its of any use....

    Yesterday, in my Roman campaign, I was assaulting Carthage. Among others I had a couple of merc phalanx units. And they DID attack.

    Phalanx formation, defense mode OFF. double r-click on the enemy, the phalanx gets into formation and charges in perfect ranks. (At least it worked for me....)

    What worried me is that they didnt even make an attempt to pursue, despite having the def-mode turned OFF..... might be a "phalanx formation" thing.

    Hope this helps....
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    Member Member Daevyll's Avatar
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    Default Re: Step two three, shuffle two three, dance two three : the big phalanx question

    I've had succes with the following:

    - Take unit out of phalanx formation
    - walk/run up to within striking range of the enemy unit
    - resume phalanx formation

    This has the effect of instantly engaging the unit in battle, usually with quite good results.
    It is most effective when used against a unit that is already engaged and thus cant really move out of the way/countercharge, but it can also work in a 'straight' engagement though the timing has to be spot-on.

    Alternatively, I use several phalanxes to create a broad mobile 'no-go' area; they get very few kills, but take few as well. In effect they are used to get the enemy out of formation and enable other units to be more effective.

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    Pet Idiot Member Soulflame's Avatar
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    Default Re: Step two three, shuffle two three, dance two three : the big phalanx question

    Quote Originally Posted by Daevyll
    I've had succes with the following:

    - Take unit out of phalanx formation
    - walk/run up to within striking range of the enemy unit
    - resume phalanx formation

    This has the effect of instantly engaging the unit in battle, usually with quite good results.
    It is most effective when used against a unit that is already engaged and thus cant really move out of the way/countercharge, but it can also work in a 'straight' engagement though the timing has to be spot-on.
    This is the same tactic the AI seems to use when I fight him and he has phalanx units. So I guess there is certainly some merit for it. I haven't checked it myself, but this may yet be the best way I reckon.
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  6. #6

    Default Re: Step two three, shuffle two three, dance two three : the big phalanx question

    I absolutely LOVE the phalanx ^^
    I'm playing Romans again, and I really miss them. They are insanely powerful from the front, and if you ever catch an enemy in sandwitch between two of them, it's a real meatgrinder. I'm quite fond of the Greek factions, personnally.

    So, how to make them fight ? Very easy.

    Don't walk past the enemy. Sometimes they will push him back at spearpoint and slaughter him, but more often than not, he will hold on enough time for the hoplites to close in, lose the phalanx formation, and start hand-to-hand mêlée combat with sword, where they aren't really effective.

    Don't simply right-click. It works about half the time, but as you said, the other half, they simply stay slightly out-of-rang of the enemy, and don't fight. Even if they go close enough to fight, anyway, they just scratch the opponent's frontline, without the meatgrinder power of the phalanx.

    The solution is simple : make it walk JUST RIGHT IN FRONT of the enemy. That is, order them to walk so they will be about one meter from the front line. They will go, and then they will be in a "push position", where the enemy is in the reach of the spears.
    And let the slaughter begins ^^


    Edit : the Daevyll's method works often, too. Resuming phalanx formatin in the middle of a mêlée, often have incredibly good result.
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    Psychotic Shock Trooper Member Excalibur Bane's Avatar
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    Unhappy Re: Step two three, shuffle two three, dance two three : the big phalanx question

    I've encountered this myself. I find any engagements involving phalanx or pikemen to be absolutely tedious at best, infuriating at worst. Forming a phalanx shouldn't even be a special function, they should by themselves to form it.

    Let's take a typical example of phalanx vs. whatever. Battle starts, phalanx are in phalanx mode, guard mode on. This immediately disables running or any kind of charge. So I turn off both functions, run the unit into position, hopefully without having anyone intercept them while they move in position and engage them in standard mode. I then reform the phalanx, and click attack. The unit moves at a snails pace to poke the enemy with it's sticks. By this time the enemy has usually moved out of position. Trying to actually turn the unit, does nothing but cause chaos.

    The units should not need this level of micromanagement. It should keep in formation, but keep it's spears up and be able to run until you double click an attack order, then they should charge the enemy, bring the spears down mid formation and smack into them. That's the way it should work, but it doesn't. God knows why.

    I was really looking forward to playing as the Selucids or Greek but I'm avoiding them until they do something to fix this. I can't stand the tedium involved with these units.
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    warning- plot loss in progress Senior Member barocca's Avatar
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    Default Phalanx secret revealed....

    I actually have some good success with my Phalanx Units,

    Always turn OFF Guard Mode

    LEAVE them in Phalanx Mode unless you need to cover ground quickly and always change back to Phalanx with PLENTY of time to spare, takes a little time to "form" the Phalanx.

    Always DOUBLE CLICK an attack
    even though the unit does not "run" it HAS been ordered to Charge and thus you will get any applicable Charge Bonus

    Tested
    Macedon vs Selucid, 10 Phalanx Pikemen units Each - (580 Denarii each),
    no upgrades, Greek Shore Map,
    no Flanking in initial attack,
    leave general just behind front line until required,
    Usual Casualties, 5 to 1 in my favour.

    Macedon vs Selucid, 10 Phalanx Pikemen units vs 10 Silver Legion,
    no upgrades, Greek Shore Map,
    no Flanking in initial attack,
    leave general just behind front line until required,
    Usual Casualties, 3 to 2 in my favour.
    (THIS is a little harder, given AI controlled Silver Legion's ability to fight 2 units at once,
    meaning they can throw javelins and charge at one unit, while already fighting h2h with another at the SAME time)


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  9. #9

    Default Re: Step two three, shuffle two three, dance two three : the big phalanx question

    Ok, thanks some good ideas here. Not sure when I'll be able to try them though. I do hope it isn't as fiddly as it sounds to use a phalanx successfully; I can see myself avoiding them if they are that awkward.

    Barocca, the same old thing I've been complaining about ever since I got here. :takes deep breath, wait for it....here it comes: Double click is run, not charge!! Yes, I know it says so in the tutorial but even back in STW units began to charge on their own based on distance to the enemy. Just click once and leave them alone, they will charge. If you make them run to the enemy the change over to charging speed is less noticeable. We had a very long discussion on this in the MTW unit guide thread, and in the beginner's guide thread, and in a few other threads. Suffice it to say the quick summery is thus: double click=run, but sometimes running is good, especially when using cavalry, because it gives them more time to get up to full speed and therefore full bonus. Double click is not charge.

    This reminds me I need to add a section about run/charging to the RTW guide...
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    Alienated Senior Member Member Red Harvest's Avatar
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    Default Re: Step two three, shuffle two three, dance two three : the big phalanx question

    I've been using them as Germania on VH/VH. What I have been doing is:

    1. Arranging my line and marching close to the enemy line (but out of charge range). All in standard formation.
    2. Switch to phalanx. (Leave in guard mode.)
    3. Select my phalanx line and order it to march as a wall to a point beyond the enemy line (I drag out the line, rather than just clicking.)

    Either the enemy charges, or we engage as I march into them. I issue new orders or halt units as needed. I use cav or light units to plug any holes that form as the engagement happens or the phalanx units rotate. The lines stay fairly contiguous like this and do a good job of chewing up the enemy.

    I try not to order individual unit attack orders until the lines have engaged, because often times the lines will turn about 45 degrees to plot "intercept" courses as the AI shifts its infantry. The lead correction/intercept course movement is undesirable with a phalanx. I will order one on one attacks do some if I have a lot wider front and can micromanage the engagement, but if the AI starts crossing units (as it likes to do) I have to halt the phalanx and change orders.

    Phalanx units require too much micromanagement in RTW. Of course, the same could be said for many other units...
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    Member Member Spartiate's Avatar
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    Default Re: Step two three, shuffle two three, dance two three : the big phalanx question

    I have had similar experiences to those expressed by both DAEVYLL and SOULFLAME with one exception.Just after engaging if there is still a noticeable gap with not much going on i quickly disable the phalanx,right click on the enemy again and then re-enable the phalanx mode.I noticed that this worked for the first time while testing units in custom battle.I was using Spartan Hoplites against full upgrade Sacred Band Infantry.This seemed to deal with the problem at least for me.
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  12. #12

    Default Re: Step two three, shuffle two three, dance two three : the big phalanx question

    Quote Originally Posted by SwordsMaster
    Actually when I doubleclick on an enemy they shout "Charge", and when I just r-click they shout "Attack".
    Hehe, that's funny - when I do that with Seleucid silver shield pikemen they yell, "attack quickly" and "unleash hell". I also remember units yelling, "charge!" on a single click attack order, though which units escapes me right now. I think the sound bites are just there for general effect, a loose description of what is happening. Well, unless "unleash hell" is intended to describe the phalanx losing cohesion and shuffling to its doom.

    I haven't noticed any real difference between single clicking and double clicking with phalanx units in my limited test in a custom battle just now; I want to get them working properly before I do any extensive testing. I do know that for all the other units things work as per MTW. Phalanx could be different, but when most orders result in them committing suicide it is hard to tell if any charging takes place or not.

    Hopefully I should have time to test the phalanx attack orders tomorrow; I shall report back when I do.
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  13. #13
    warning- plot loss in progress Senior Member barocca's Avatar
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    Default Re: Step two three, shuffle two three, dance two three : the big phalanx question

    Quote Originally Posted by SwordsMaster
    Well, but thats how phalanx works.... And anyway, it might have been changed in RTW.

    Actually when I doubleclick on an enemy they shout "Charge", and when I just r-click they shout "Attack".
    :-) my point exaclty.

    If you leave them to simply march in (single click) they do the Famous Phalanx Shuffle, and not much else...

    if you double click they dont do the Shuffle
    - well they shuffle a LITTLE bit, but not much AND they are killing merrily away while they do so.
    (can't recall if phalanx units yell charge or not - but other units certainly do)

    So I too think double click for charge has been changed/fixed for Rome.



    ALSO the "drift" has less "impact" if you spread the formation wider than standard, i find 4 ranks works well. (others may have different suggestions)

    As for enemy units changing trajectories and breaking your line you want to issue individual orders as close to the enemy as possible, so that enemy units sidestepping does not expose so much of the flanks.

    As for being flanked, they are going to be overlapped/wrapped-around by most infantry they encounter (other than phalanx units) so having some light troops to cover the gaps as they appear works wonders for me.


    Phalanx units need support, they need decent cavalry or heavy infantry to protect the outer flanks of the line, and they need light fast troops to cover "interior" flanks (the gaps that open up between adjacent phalanx's) as they are exposed.

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  14. #14

    Default Re: Step two three, shuffle two three, dance two three : the big phalanx question

    In my experience, you do not have to do all these clicky manuevers ;p You can of course if you want to, but, if you're lazy you can simply remove the guard option and they will begin to actually attack. What these other guys are doing, is what you almost would call exploitative game mechanics. Essentially they are maximizing their initial attack by getting as many spears into the enemy formation as possible. I wouldnt call it an exploit, rather imaginative use of the formation ;p

    Guard Option for the Phalanx works unlike any other unit. They will not actively engage, they will simply hold their formation and engage anything that comes into their killing zone. About the only time I want them to use this, is when im massively outnumbered in a defensive action, or in siege defence. All other instances, make sure you turn guard off, or your phalanxes will march up and stop just short. Many of the previous posters have mentioned ways that you can force a phalanx in guard mode into attacking, but in my opinion its more trouble than its worth, and in my experience they contort all the faster as they try to regain a defensive position rather than an offensive one.

  15. #15
    warning- plot loss in progress Senior Member barocca's Avatar
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    Default Re: Step two three, shuffle two three, dance two three : the big phalanx question

    Quote Originally Posted by frogbeastegg
    ...I also remember units yelling, "charge!" on a single click attack order...

    ...but when most orders result in them committing suicide it is hard to tell if any charging takes place or not...

    for the single click order resulting in a charge, cavalry tend to do that but infantry will also do that if the enemy unit is within the "charge range"


    I am really having some difficulty understanding what is happening to you,

    as Jullii i rely heavily on merc hoplites for destroying heavy cavalry, elite infantry and holding wall breaches.

    If I want an enemy line held in place (pinned) Phalanx is IDEAL while my light cav run round the back.

    My merc hoplites rapidly get to silver experience...

    They dont actually "charge", they cannot run while in Phalanx,
    but I have found a double click makes them kill things quicker...
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  16. #16

    Default Re: Step two three, shuffle two three, dance two three : the big phalanx question

    Spino, we may have better luck having someone give us new animations for the Phalanx than having CA patch out the shuffle. I've got no clue but I've heard on the TWcenter you can alter/create new animations. So it wouldnt shock me if someone could edit/alter the current animation so the shuffle was gone.

  17. #17
    warning- plot loss in progress Senior Member barocca's Avatar
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    Default Re: Step two three, shuffle two three, dance two three : the big phalanx question

    Quote Originally Posted by Osbot
    Guard Option for the Phalanx works unlike any other unit. They will not actively engage, they will simply hold their formation and engage anything that comes into their killing zone.
    Osbot and I are of the same mind on this one,
    turn Guard OFF
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  18. #18
    warning- plot loss in progress Senior Member barocca's Avatar
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    Default Re: Step two three, shuffle two three, dance two three : the big phalanx question

    Quote Originally Posted by Osbot
    So it wouldnt shock me if someone could edit/alter the current animation so the shuffle was gone.
    i think the shuffle is game mechanics, not graphic animation,
    the units are programmed to shuffle seeing that is what historically happened,

    the trick is to minimise the shuffle in the first place and understand how to cover their flanks if an engagement continues for an extended period of time.

    This means "designing" your army around the Phalanx units.
    Heavy infantry/Cav for the outer edges and nimble troops to cover gaps in the line as they are exposed.
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  19. #19
    Champion head hurler Member Accounting Troll's Avatar
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    Default Re: Step two three, shuffle two three, dance two three : the big phalanx question

    When I am using phalanxes, I order each individual phalanx to attack a particular enemy unit rather than grouping them and giving orders to the group as a whole. They only break formation and engage with swords if they get flanked, so I usually have some cavalry on standby to prevent my phalanxes from being flanked.

    I have only noticed the shuffle when I have about half a dozen phalanxes attacking a lone enemy unit, so some of my men have to budge up to make room for their comrades.

    City streets often don't have enough room for attackers to stay in formation, so I disable phalanx mode when my pikemen are storming a city.

    Phalanxes are supposed to engage the entire enemy infantry line simultaneously, but if you group your units and give them orders to attack as a group, the game thinks you want all your units to attack a particular enemy unit, so your men end up breaking formation. You definatly need to be a fan of micromanaging your battles to get the best out of phalanxes.

  20. #20
    Typing from the Saddle Senior Member Doug-Thompson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Step two three, shuffle two three, dance two three : the big phalanx question

    This is too bizarre.

    Attacking something should not be this difficult.

    I guess it's too early to ask if there's anything similar to a rank bonus as there is in M:TW, etc.

    Also, maybe RTW just isn't like MTW. Maybe guard mode should be left off, period.

    My experience with RTW spear units is extremely limited, but trying MTW-type tactics of staying together in four ranks didn't work at all for me. Eastern Infantry may be the worst spear unit in the game, but getting beat by an equal number of peasants was embarrassing.
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  21. #21

    Default Re: Step two three, shuffle two three, dance two three : the big phalanx question

    Phalanxes are implemented amazingly poorly in RTW.

    As frog and many of the rest of you discovered, simply clicking (or double clicking) on the target involves the phalanx marching up, lowering their spears well short of the enemy, and then simply refusing to advance for the longest time while they blindly all shuffle off to buffalo in happy oblivion. The only way you get any action is if the enemy is foolish enough to throw themselves on your spears.

    To get my phalanxes to attack, I have to click beyond the enemy (and from enough distance away from the enemy). Naturally, this is very micromanagemnt intensive if the enemy rearranges his battlelines.

    And the phalanx sidestep is NOT historical and moreover, is NOT good gameplay. It's beyond foolish. The 'phalanx drift' occured predominantly as the men were marching or charging towards the enemy under a hail of arrows. It occured much less frequently once the phalanx was locked in combat, for the simple reason you didn't *have* freedom of lateral movement without corresponding forward movement, because of the mass of men pushing in from behind. The way it's depicted in game, with the entire phalanx taking a step to the side every, second, is ridiculous.

    This also illustrates how absolutely silly a phalanx looks attacking when they creep up. Stop, then all lower their sticks and gingerly poke away while shuffling away from the fight as if they wish they were elswhere.. No, no, NO. Phalanxes smashed their enemies using their weight and momentum. Stopping just before the final collision would be unheard of. They should charge into the enemy headfirst.

    The lateral drift also wreaks absolute havoc with gameplay. I had a unit of spartan hoplites attacking a unit of my archers. The hoplites came up, attacked the archers in the center, and then slowly driftted off to the side. The unengaged archers of course, are shooting them the entire time. They eventually kill off the 1/2 of the archers on their side, drift faaaaaar away, and finally go through all kinds of contortions to turn around and get back into action - getting shot in back by the archers the whole time. It completely destroys any belief you are watching a real battle.

    An additional match up was sacred band vs early legion or something. The sacred band drifted and drifted and drifted and drifted until - the entire phalanx was facing *nothing* but thin air, and the only man in the unit fighting was the man on the extreme right who had his sword out and was fighting a swarm of very bemused legionares watching the phalanx slowly sidestap away perpendicularly to their own line. Naturally this poor right flank sacred band fellow was quickly cut down and replaced by the man behind him, as the sacred band continued their mad shuffle leftwards.

    To sum up : the lateral drift is far too pronounced to be even remotely historical, and is far to disruptive to good gameplay to leave in.

  22. #22
    Alienated Senior Member Member Red Harvest's Avatar
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    Default Re: Step two three, shuffle two three, dance two three : the big phalanx question

    I still think the key is to move your phalanx arm as a continuous line past the enemy line as Ulstan suggests This is the only way I've found to get them to behave as a unit/line. I am leaving them in the default guard mode that the German Spear Warband comes in. This keeps them from fracturing as soon as enemy units rout. I do change orders when they actually engage to get them to match up better and I'll pull them out of phalanx sometimes to reface once they rout the guy in front of them.

    As barocca mentioned, I use 4 rank depth to give width to the 121 man German phalanx. The 80 man phalanx units are too small. I don't know what CA was thinking, but they don't work well at that unit size. If you could "weld" the phalanx units it would be different although they would still suffer inordinately from the loss of individual soldiers.

    Kraxis doubts the historical shuffle to the right when engaged. I'm sitting on the fence, since I liked his arguments, but I've seen a lot that says otherwise. (Plus I think the position of the spear and placement of the feet would tend to produce some "pull" in combat.) I will say this regardless of the historical accuracy, with the multitude of problems phalanx units face in RTW, the shuffle is a "bridge too far" and should be removed.

    I'm going to have to watch more to see what I'm doing...I'm having very good luck with them vs. the Gauls, Dacians, and Britons...but I'm allied with Rome so I'm not facing heavyweights. I swore off infantry as Carthage after finding the phalanx units unusable on vh/vh, but I lacked the availability of cav as Germania early on...and large phalanx units readily available as Germania.

    One thing is certain. Phalanx armies need cav, else the army you just whipped will escape off the map to fight you again next turn. When I'm down to scraps of two cav units in each army as Germania, I feel this deficiency in the worst possible way. I'm about three turns from Gaul, Briton, and Dacia running out of money to pump out full stacks every turn (been watching their finances as they gang up on me...oh, there will be a RECKONING!)
    Rome Total War, it's not a game, it's a do-it-yourself project.

  23. #23
    warning- plot loss in progress Senior Member barocca's Avatar
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    Default Re: Step two three, shuffle two three, dance two three : the big phalanx question

    Here are my recommendations for using the phalanx capable units for greece, macedon and selucid as they appear in the game,

    Phalanx units are not fast moving, they wont blitz through the enemy line in a heart beat (they are heavy troops, not shock cavalry),
    But they will decimate most anything that gets in their way.

    Phalanx Troops were a Steam Roller, they did punch through enemy lines, but they did not do it quickly.


    To Get the Most out of Phalanx Units
    ------------------------------------

    Turn Guard Mode off,
    Phalanx units will never persue routing troops very far at all anyway, even in aggressive mode. IF you want them to persue a routing unit take them out of phalanx and order them to chase.

    Keep your phalanx units in a cohesive line (open field battles)

    If you take a unit out of phalanx to move/redeploy quickly, Then give them a few seconds to reform before attacking

    Pick your targets and double-click

    Protect the flanks
    Protect the End of the line with cavalry and heavy infantry
    Protect any Gaps that may appear between Phalanx units with nimble troops, they need to be able to move quickly to guard the flanks of your Phalanx,
    You dont need to try to engage anything, just stand in the gap so nothing can get at the flanks.

    IF Your army leader is in a Phalanx unit be very carefull, watch where The Actual Leader Figure is standing and try to keep him out of a Phalanx/Phalanx confrontation
    - he only has a sword,
    - he will try to charge the wall of spears,
    - he will wind up poisoning the carrion birds...

    Avoid Terrain Obstacles where possible, they will disrupt formation and disrupt cohesion of a line of phalanx units.
    IF you must pass through a terrain obstacle pre-order your line to stop immediately after the obstacle to allow your line to remain "solid".

    I pin the enemy main line with my Phalanx units, knowing they will hold long enough for me to go round the flanks and deal with skirmishers and missile troops, then to fall uon the rear of the units the phalanx troops have pinned.

    I also use Phalanx units in City Assaults,
    I make 3 breaches in the wall, I time them so the first breach is the gate and make one additional breach EACH side of the gate some 15 to 30 seconds later.
    I push a Phalanx into the Gate to attract and pin enemy troops, then push something else through the breaches to either side and sandwich the units pinned by my Phalanx.
    Then I use my Phalanx units to guard the gate area, and everything else moves into the city.


    How to deal with an enemy Phalanx.
    Simple, use a reasonable defensive unit as a "pin" on guard mode to engage the Phalanx, and hit the Phalanx from the sides and rear with cavalry.

    _________________________________________________________________
    What can go wrong

    If you leave Guard Mode On for Greece, Macedon and Selucids the Phalanx units become dancing fools.
    You can enhance and prolong dancing fool mode by clicking behind the enemy line rather than a direct attack on a unit.

    PLEASE NOTE results Cannot be guaranteed if you have installed ANY mods that you yourself did not make, You have NO guarantee what the mod-maker may have tweaked and forgotten to mention.
    and if YOU made a mod make sure you did not tweak or alter ANY units.
    The winds that blows -
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  24. #24
    Typing from the Saddle Senior Member Doug-Thompson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Step two three, shuffle two three, dance two three : the big phalanx question

    [Edited note: barocca's post and mine "passed in the ether." This reply is not a reply to barocca's.]

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Harvest
    As barocca mentioned, I use 4 rank depth to give width to the 121 man German phalanx.

    ... The 80 man phalanx units are too small. I don't know what CA was thinking, but they don't work well at that unit size. If you could "weld" the phalanx units it would be different although they would still suffer inordinately from the loss of individual soldiers.
    Well, if you infantry pros would tolerate some guesses from an enemy (cavalry) player ...

    Having a formation only two ranks deep seems to relieve the deadly "friendly fire" problem quite a bit when a friendly missile unit is behind you. I think (guess?) that the 80-man phalanx units are meant to work in very close conjunction with missile units.

    Although a triarii is not a phalanx unit, I tried some experiments tonight with the triarii and hastati (sp?). There is no triarii rank bonus. However, there is quite a charge bonus. Stretching the triarii into a thin, 2-rank line put the maximum number of spear points on the front line, maximizing that charge bonus. The hastati were behind the spears and threw their javelins over the heads of the triarii without killing their friends in front. After a couple of throws, the hastati charged and finished off the Carthaginian Long-Shields unit.

    The cavalry fought to the end, losing their general just before the whole unit was destroyed, leaving two routing survivors. The infantry had no height advantage. The test was run a couple of times on grassy flatlands, with the AI obligingly charging right in. I still had only 20 triarii and 55 hastati left, but destroyed a very good cavalry unit.

    I suspect that a long, thin phalanx (which I admit is an oxymoron) backed by slingers or archers would be very deadly.

    =============

    As for big phalanx units, it seems that phalanx combat is not very satisfying but it is effective. A phalanx unit four ranks deep cuts down hastati, leaving three survivors and losing only eight men. It took time, however -- which was interesting, considering all the complaints the forum has had about kill rates.

    ============

    I never thought a spear unit would need more micro than horse archers, but it does appear that big phalanx units can be manuevered effectively by keeping one finger between the phalanx and "run" buttons, and switching between the two a lot. The facing buttons help a lot, too.

    ===========

    As for the crushing advance of a charging phalanx and historical accuracy, I'm -- just going to stop now.
    "In war, then, let your great object be victory, not lengthy campaigns."

  25. #25
    Member Member Postino's Avatar
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    Default Re: Step two three, shuffle two three, dance two three : the big phalanx question

    i give the phalanxes somewhere to walk to that is behind the enemy, and hope they dont wheel uncharaisterically. i get good odds on doing it right as long as i do it one at a time and nobody ios in a group.
    Standing up for the rights of gay spies everywhere.

  26. #26

    Default Re: Step two three, shuffle two three, dance two three : the big phalanx question

    The problem is not the rightward drift. The problem is them not engaging the enemy properly. They don't drift right when they manage to lock spears with the enemy, or if they do its not by much. I've had phalanx on phalanx combat before and if they get their spears engaged they basically don't drift. What I find to be the problem is like what many said here. They attack the enemy but really don't attack. Their spears are not touching the enemy and they're not doing any damage. Why this is I don't know. This needs to be looked at by CA.

  27. #27
    Member Member Finn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Step two three, shuffle two three, dance two three : the big phalanx question

    I havent really worked out how to use the phalanx properly but i have worked out what NOT to do if it is any help..

    was playing one of the historical battles where you get 'phants and pha'nxs and i had the brilliant(?) idea of sending my elephants charging lengthwise down the line of enemy phalanxes closely followed by my phalanxes (i have no heavy sword infantry) marching forward into their completely disrupted formations...

    Elephant manouver worked perfectly, charged straight down their line sidewise disurpting all their nice neat formations with them all scattered around on the ground, my phalanxes move in to what i hope is a massacre as they kill all the enemy soldiers lying on the ground...

    well it was a massacre all right, their disrupted troops all promply get up and are now surrounding my nice neat formation of phalanxes on all sides, my phalanxes promptly shuffled about not knowing where to put its spears (ooh matron!) while all the enemy just stood around them in a nice big mulberry bush circle stabbing inwards.

    lets just say its not a tactic i would reccomend...

  28. #28
    warning- plot loss in progress Senior Member barocca's Avatar
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    Question Re: Step two three, shuffle two three, dance two three : the big phalanx question

    Quote Originally Posted by Arakasi
    The problem is not the rightward drift. The problem is them not engaging the enemy properly.
    They don't drift right when they manage to lock spears with the enemy, or if they do its not by much. I've had phalanx on phalanx combat before and if they get their spears engaged they basically don't drift.
    What I find to be the problem is like what many said here. They attack the enemy but really don't attack. Their spears are not touching the enemy and they're not doing any damage. Why this is I don't know. This needs to be looked at by CA.
    this is what i cannot understand,
    it does not happen to me at all,
    when i tell phlalanx "go kill" it does exactly that,
    it goes and it kills.

    Mostly it kills quickly, sometimes it kills a little slower, sometimes it shuffles WHILE it kills, but it always kills.

    Have you tried following my advice exactly?
    Guard Mode OFF, Phalanx Mode ON and Double click the target unit?

    MAYBE it is something i am doing instinctively/automatically and have not realised that i need to explain it,

    TRY double clicking the target unit when it is about the same distance from your Phalanx THAT, you would order a charge if you were using a Hastati Unit.

    and i will try and analyse exactly what i am doing with my Phalanx units...
    The winds that blows -
    ask them, which leaf on the tree
    will be next to go.

  29. #29

    Default Re: Step two three, shuffle two three, dance two three : the big phalanx question

    When I double click, my units say unleash hell and attack quickly but they just stand there doing nothing. They eventually attack but absolutely not quickly.

    I've only used militia hoplites but they seem to switch to their swords too quickly. They get slaughtered after that.

  30. #30
    robotica erotica Member Colovion's Avatar
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    Default Re: Step two three, shuffle two three, dance two three : the big phalanx question

    Phalanx units start with Gaurd Mode on, yes.

    I've done some tests and it seems that the phalanx units attack much better with the Gaurd mode off (as many here have attested to). This is both an annoyance to me as well as something that makes sense. It's annoyin because phalanx soldiers are supposed to be a tight knit group that tries as hard as they can to stay together. Gaurd does this with all units, but it also tells the unit to stay put (for the most part) and gaurd the area that they are at and to not break formation to attack anyone unless they get inside that danger zone.

    1) With it Off the phalanx soldiers will not stick together as much but they will be much more agressive and will kill more units as they are attacking. This is only really good against an enemy that is not charging you and you are just worried about fighting, not stopping a charge.

    2) With it On it is much better for when the unit is halted to take any kind of charge (especially Cavalry). Having it turned off makes the formation be able to be broken up easier, but not by much. Clicking the Phalanx Formation button tells the soldiers to stick together a lot - but the Gaurd button does it again, which may confuse the combat ability of the phalanx into thinking that they are supposed to hold so close together that they can't advance as a group to attack anyone.

    This little problem would be fixed if the phalanx's zone of attack is just reduced by a couple feet.

    Then again, I'm no expert.
    robotica erotica

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