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Thread: My French campaign and feelings

  1. #1
    Ero-oyaji extraordinaire Member Zoltan's Avatar
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    Default My French campaign and feelings

    Hi all,

    I'm feeling quite please about myself just now, having received within the last 3 days my brand new gaming rig and my copy of Med 2. (And no, I did NOT order the previous because of the last).

    So here comes an account of my first campaign, 7 solid hours of playing, which kept me awake until the wee hours. I don't have my gaming computer on hand as I write this, so please forgive me about the lack of dates or specifics.

    Despite being a frenchman, I actually took my time to browse through the available factions before starting. The spaniards might be interesting for a later game - unless I unlock some other goodies - but for now, the French position and choice of units suit my style of play best. Bit weak on archers though, not a problem in the first stage but there might be hell to pay once I come up against missile cav. Difficulty : hard/hard, cause I heard that this time round VH is really worth the name and I don't feel like getting humiliated just yet.

    Well, anyone who played france so far is probably familiar with the early game : Easy picking rebel settlements, and plenty of them. Dijon fell in the 2nd turn, Rennes in the 3rd, Bordeaux and Metz in the 4th. I actually got the mission from the Noble's council to capture Metz on that turn, and took it in the very same turn without even a siege: my spy conveniently opened the gates (hilarious spy movies LOL), and 2 units of bodyguards punched through the defenders, with milita cleaning up behind. Somewhat reckless, but it got the job done with minimal losses on my side. Bordeaux put up a much better fight, and I was mighty glad I hired those merc spearmen to give my Militia sergeants a hand. Bloody fighting on the walls and I got one siege tower torched, but honor and french accent won the day.

    A word about the voice acting (I have the english version). That stupid french accent set me on edge at the beginning, but now I got used to it I find it hilarious and not at all overdone. Especially love the diplomats, with a kind of southern french accent. Cheers CA

    Time to build. First thing I need is roads. I have spread my forces thin and they may need to regroup in a hurry. Then I give the priority to economic growth. I convert Metz to a town, got enough castles, thank you very much, then I try and upgrade the fields and markets in priority, and churn out a couple merchants. That takes it's toll of course and I've got almost nothing left for recruiting troops. I take a couple turns to reorganize what I've got: My king and a somewhat small garrison in Metz to ward of an invasion from the "Holy" Roman Empire, and focus the rest on my northern troops on Paris, to move on to the better defended rebel settlements in the North : Bruges and Antwerp. In the south I start mounting an expedition to take Cagliari, which with it's silver deposits seems a tad more attractive than Ajaccio and its nudist beaches...

    Meanwhile, I also send out diplomats to the east and south, to fullfill the various "Establish Relations" missions. In the process, I ally myself with Spain and Poland. Nex few turns are not very eventful. In Bruges I decide not to risk heavy losses against their superior quality Flemish infantry, so I just wait it out. Sure enough, they try to break the siege on the last day, and get pwned by my cavalry on open ground - standard tactic: pin them down with crappy infantry, then do the real damage from the flanks with cavalry.

    The assault on cagliari is a long winded bloody thing, with my weak infantry barely advancing in the narrow main street. My cavalry eventually puts an end to it by going the long way round and taking the bad guys from the back, but even so they fight to the last.

    This is when it starts being eventful. For some reason (probably those pagan sorcerers that seem so trendy with my nobles), my standing with the pope was quite low by then: 3 crosses. I start churning out priests everywhere, in an effort to make amends Doesnt do me much good, but it will later.. Then the pope launches a crusade on Antioch, and not joining might result in excommunication, no less. I still have a few turns so I decide to quickly take antwerp with my big army. Alas, it seems that took them a bit too far from Paris, and that's just what these craven Englishmen were waiting for. Bing, almost a full stack besieging me.
    I hurriedly start moving my big stack back towards the action, and luckily, they retreat back to Caen. Regroup and reorganize for the next turn, but just then the portuguese start a land and sea assault on Bordeaux, which has a weak garrison, but fortunately a rather competent general. I barely manage to shake them off with some reinforcements from Toulouse. On the north front I send my troops back to Antwerp, unwilling to pursue conflict against the english, which is sure to lower my standing with the pope. I just leave a much more adequate garrison in Paris. My main troop is not going to make it in time for the crusade so I hastily assemble a ragtag group of milita with my youngest son in Rheims and Dijon to go on crusade instead. Seems like you need at least a half stack army to go on crusade.

    As I finally take antwerp in a night assault, the english try to raid Rennes. Bad idea they get excommunicated, yippie! I easily repel their raiding party and then rush my troops to give a two pronged siege to Caen. They got that big stack in there though so I take my time and lay siege. I figure out no one is going to interrupt me. Wrong, a couple of turns in they actually reconcile with the pope (their leader must have died), and I get that dreaded papal injunction to cease attacking them. By now my standing with the big guy is 1 cross, there's a place in hell with my name on it! Inquisitors fall on my land like very hungry locusts.

    Now I've lost count of my nobles that inquisitors have made bonfires of during the campaign, but the first and probably most embarassing was that famous younger son that I had leading my crusade. While traversing german territory, inquisitors get him and bang, all my crusader troops are menacing to desert in the next turn. I just have time to move them back towards home (angering the germans), and move a new general to take the lead. This could just have been the shortest crusade in history!

    Fast forward a bit now. Germans starts attacking me with some pretty decent siege equipment. Fortunately my heir "merciless" is there to defend the line, with serious back-up too. I let the multiple sieges drag on though, not wanting to risk excommunication with a more aggressive response. Uneasy truce with the english. We're still at war, but as we're both spearheading the "filthiest heretic" contest, they probably have the same stop attacking injunction. Portuguese keep harrassing me too and I stay passive, same as the Germans. War on 3 fronts is taking it's toll on my economy, and inquisitors manage to get a couple more of my nobles.

    Now this is where my luck starts turning. First, england makes a wrong step and they get their asses excommunicated again. This time no loitering, within 2 turns, I catch them with their pants off in caen (half their forces outside the city), sack it, and press them to a ceasefire while paying me a bit of tribute. Just in time too, cause the danes ally with the germans and start marching on antwerp. Milanese are allied with them too so the east front is looking a bit hot now.

    Did I tell you about the merchant's guild? I got a couple in my towns for making merchants early on, and they allow me to recruit that nifty heavy cav unit: Merchant cavalry. Not an outstanding unit, but FREE UPKEEP when in garrison, how nice is that for heavy cav, eh? And now the merchant's guild is giving me missions. Establish trade relations with the sicilians, nice, I make them my allies while I'm at it, good trading partners too.

    My crusade is by now approaching Constantinople, but turns out my sicilian allies are already in Antioch and have taken it. Oddly enough I get some bonus for the crusade success too. Rather than press on, I send in a few boats to repatriate them. Those nifty crusader mercs might just come handy on the home front. Wating for the boat home I try to make myself discreet (as discreet as a full stack army can be) in the middle of the Byzantian Empire.

    Remeber all those clerics I churned out earlier? Well one of them just got promoted cardinal! Makes me wonder what my old cardinal's become, and yep, he's still around, quelling some heretic scum in Marseille, and somehow his piety has been boosted to the maximum possible, and he's now second among the Preferati. Hot news! Now to check how old the pope is. 58.. my cardinal is 57, that's cutting it close but with a bit of luck...

    Well that luck took it's sweet time coming. I lost count of how many assaults from the danes and germans I've had to repel. Standing with the current pope was still down the drain so I didnt dare counterattack, and as expected, the milanese declared war too. Still held, trying to keep my number of units as low as possible and building up my economy. The danes impressed me most. Good selection of high quality trop, bad temper to boot, and their navy tore mine to shreds even when significantly outnumbered.

    Finally, it payed off! The old ge.. um, Pope passed away, and with the head start my 2 cardinals gave me and my 3 allies voting for me, I won the papal election, and now I've got it, my personal pope! My standing jumped from about 2 crosses to 10 crosses, and germany, england and danmark went straight down the drain, 0 crosses for you buffoons.

    Next turn is when I stopped for the night, with a feeling of impending revenge. My ex-crusader army has come home (after a nearly disastrous encounter with some decidedly unhappy egyptian ships) and is now knocking on Portugal's door. Germany has just been excommunicated and I've driven away a major host from Metz. Only hiccup is in Dijon. A small milanese party slipped in and gave a quick attack before I could bring back some defenders.

    Ensues one of the most exciting battles I've ever played in a Total War game. I had 4 militia infantry plus a unit of merchant cav. They had 5 crossbow militia, which I didnt know were also dreadfully efficient melee units. I figured I could still hold, esp. on top of a big stone wall. They had one ladder and one ram, no sweat. First unit to come up the ladder was litteraly butchered by my militia. But then their ram made it through, and things started getting tricky. I let the first unit emerge from the gate before charging it with 2 milita on the front and side, and with my cav on the other side. They took losses but held, so the next 2 units followed in, with just 1 waiting behind. Despite being caught in a pincer, they fought like the little green devils they are and caused a bloody melee. I had to take my remaining militia off the walls and into the fray and even that was not quite enough. Both generals and all of my cavalry died. Late into the fight, their last unit went in too, just when I was routing the others. Somehow taking advantage of the confusion, they managed to run right past my men with minimal losses and sped on to the main plaza. My exhausted men, by now numbering about 80, had to follow. As a tribute to Militia crossbowmen, while they had about 40 guys left, the battle bar indicated overwhelming odds in their favour.

    As the bad guys reached the city center, they started turning and thinning my ranks with crossbow bolts. I had to rush head on without any pretense of strategy. Ensued another melee in a narrow street, in which my brave milita fought almost to the last against the enemy. To no avail. When my final militia unit routed, the Milanese had 7 (seven!) men left standing. How 7 wounded and exhasuted men managed to subsequently ransack the city is beyond me. Nice feat still, I shall give them a proper warrior's death when I finally lay my hands of them. My next gaming session will definitely be placed under the sign of revenge. It will also be shorter.

    Well sorry all for the long-winded post, just wanted to to vent out how excited I am about this new opus in the total war series. I'm a grizzled veteran back from shogun, but I must say if it was not for all the whining on the official forum, I might just not have noticed the current issues with the game. Sure, cavalry feels a bit nerfed but it still gets the job done. One of the more frustrating aspects for me was diplomacy, but that might just be 'cause I don't do it right : how the hell do you improve your standing with a faction? That has never at all happened to me however I try to sucker them.

    Anyway, thanks again CA and cheers for making a great, new, groundbreaking game out of what is now a classic franchise.

  2. #2
    dudes what's shakin' Member Katana's Avatar
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    Default Re: My French campaign and feelings

    Wow, sounds great!

    I can't wait until summer, when I'll buil a new rig and go to town on Medieval 2...

  3. #3
    Member Member Alexander the Pretty Good's Avatar
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    Default Re: My French campaign and feelings

    Excellent write up! CA's marketing department has done much less to sell me on this game.

  4. #4
    Research Shinobi Senior Member Tamur's Avatar
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    Default Re: My French campaign and feelings

    Brilliant writeup Zoltan! Great example of patience and using the Papal mechanics to turn the tables in a big way. I'm impressed with the large-scale strategy you're using. Keep us posted on how those English dogs fare now
    "Die Wahrheit ruht in Gott / Uns bleibt das Forschen." Johann von Müller

  5. #5
    Ero-oyaji extraordinaire Member Zoltan's Avatar
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    Default Re: My French campaign and feelings

    That will have to wait til this evening (or tomorrow by the time i'm done playing). That papal bit was more sheer stroke luck than anything else, I had originally hoped all those priests to raise my standing with the current guy in office, or to raise my nobles piety. That they did neither and instead mounted a coup in Vatican was none of my design... well almost...

    Frankly I'm not interested in the English anymore, they're fine up there on their rainy island. I might just ally myself with the Scots, they seem like OK chaps, and I might just get them to trade a few kegs of whisky with me.

    Now my plans are to buldozze clean through the so-calle Holy Roman Empire, and frighten their allies into an advantageous ceasefire. Then maybe I'll turn to the crusades again and go chasten some infidels.

    By the way, is there now way on this forum that I can edit my posts for spelling? Please give this poor unwashed Gaul a chance.

  6. #6

    Default Re: My French campaign and feelings

    Great write up and extra cheers for giving french a try.

    Keep the writeups coming, that Dijon battle AAR was really neat!

  7. #7
    Research Shinobi Senior Member Tamur's Avatar
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    Default Re: My French campaign and feelings

    Junior Members cannot edit posts (see the Watchtower for many threads explaining a number of reasons for this). However, with posts like that, it will probably not be long before you become a Member and can edit whatever you wish.
    "Die Wahrheit ruht in Gott / Uns bleibt das Forschen." Johann von Müller

  8. #8

    Thumbs up Re: My French campaign and feelings

    Very nice write up Zoltan, it truly makes me wish I had my copy of MTW 2 already.


    I'm starting to wonder now myself if a lot of the problems/issues other's are having playing the game(mainly stated in the numerous complaint threads at the .com & TW Center) are more from how they aren't thinking things through enough while their playing.

    Reading your write up, you stated that at certain points you had as many as 3-4 factions hot on your heels, and you refrained from taking action even during sieges because you didn't want to further upset your relationship with the papacy. I'm thinking a lot of people just aren't understanding the complex dynamics of this new game.

    I think people just assume that because MTW 2 is based off the RTW engine that the way they handled situations in RTW should work the same in MTW 2; which rightly so, seems not to be the case.

    Anyways thanks for the interesting read.


    Also have you experienced any major lag or buggy'ness during your siege battles , this seems to be a major sticking point for a lot of gamers and it seems as though you went through your share of sieges so I am interested in hearing your view point on the issue.

  9. #9
    Ero-oyaji extraordinaire Member Zoltan's Avatar
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    Smile Re: My French campaign and feelings

    Hey, didnt have time to play very long yesterday, but here's my take.

    No, I never experienced lag of any kind in this game, but as I mentioned, I have a brand new gaming machine. Also een though I have had my fair amount of sieges, I don't usually give the guys the opportunity to actually assault, at least not if their forces are large enough to be a threat. I sally out or get reinforcements before that, and there's no problem with that.

    It seems my relief yesterday was short lived, as was my "pet pope". Just after the events related yesterday, I retook Dijon easily from its... 7 defenders. In portugal, which I hoped to to deal with quickly, my army has stumbled onto a fortress in Pampluna, which without serious siege equipment is going to be hard to deal with. So after a few skirmishes on the open field, which my heavy cav (ex-crusaders, remember?) won easily, I brought them back to Toulouse to regroup and refurbish, and equip them with some catapults.

    On the east front I was trying to muster for a big, punishing attack on the HRE, but they got to me first : One full german stack Came through the forests around Rheims and one from the Danes in Antwerp. The Danes were dealt with rather easily, this time around they brought rather cheap infantry, lotsa balistas too. The germans gave me a much harder time. I had actually movex my main army from reims to deal with a big band of rebels in the forest, and the germans ambushed me on the way!

    That was my first ambush in MTW and not a pleasant surprise. I had my whole army laid out in a big column, and the germans flanking me from uphill.

    Germans / My guys.
    ^
    |
    ==> |
    ==> |
    ==> |
    |

    Luckily they hesitated a bit before launching an all out charge, and as my army was about half cavalry, I was able to pull them out to safety on the right flank, while my infantry hurriedly put some distance between them and the germans and formed a battle line on more open ground. I'd reckon their army was about a dozen infantry of various calibers, with a 3-star general and 2 heavy cavs. Mine was 7 infantry (including 2 dismounted knights) and 7 cav , including my 4-star general's unit. The bulk of their infantry was on me just as I formed my battle line. They came at me slightly from the left so they outnumbered me heavily on that side. I was lucky to have my DK's on that side so they held. Right side was more one on one and my troops actuallly had the upper hand there (militias, but well armoured with 2 or 3 XP).

    I had the bulk of my cavalry on the right flank and slightly behing the enemy, but they kept a couple reserve infantry behind their engaged ones, excellent tactical move, so I made for their general instead with most of my cav, leaving just 2 groups to help my left side. Did some damage to the rascal and his supporting cavalry, but 2 infantry groups came to the rescue and he managed to pull away. I had to disengage too with some losses. I counteratacked on the now exposed right side and managed to rout a couple units, while my 2 cav on the left were making short work of their 1. Rest of the battle was a bloody melee with my right flank curling over their center, and them doing the same thing on the left. Charge from the rear by my cavalry in their center did some damage but only caused a route after one minute of intense melee combat. Heavy losses on my side, but my surviving cavalry ensured almost no one but their general made it out.

    My pet pope died of old age just after this and was replaced by a new guy from my spanish allies, whom I voted in. My own remaining cardinal was among the preferati too, but I wanst sure I'd get the votes, so I played it safe and voted the spaniard in. Result : Danes and HRE get back in as catholics (not for long, their standing is still at 0 and 1 respectively).

    Other interesting battle that evening was just after that, outside the walls of Dijon. The milanese came up again, this time with a very sizeable infantry army. I would have been toast if I let them assault, so I had to move in my cavalry in a hurry from Reims, hiring a few merc spearmen on the way. Their army was moslty Italian Militia and Genoese Crossbowmen. I had had some problems before with their crossbowmen, which are actually excellent melee units and perfect for street fighting. On the open field, they were an entirely different story. What I did was a textbook example of cavalry tactics against a less mobile opponent. Move all round them, a few faked charges to get their ranged units running around a bit, then catch whatever unit was isolated, charge it from 2 or 3 sides, rout, repeat. When my infantry moved in for the kill and the whole cav charged from all sides, their whole army routed within seconds. End result : a bit under 100 losses on my side, vs about 800 on theirs. Not bad from a purely melee fight, uh?

    Now, on to the bad news : my Spanish allies backstab me! They lay siege to toulouse with a crappy army. My full stack rips them to pieces, but I'm the one who loses rep with the pope for breaking their siege. Apparently that counts as aggression too lol. That's it, all my 5 neighbours are allied against me, and the pope is in their pocket too. None of them will hear about a ceasefire even with huge compensation, so it's time to change my strategy, played defensive long enough. I've still got a pretty decent rep with the big P, So I'll try and lash out with all I have on the portuguese and danes and hope for the best : take 1 city and make them ceasefire.. HRE and Milan seem busy elsewhere at the moment. I just have to pray they don't barge in cause I'm leaving my home defences seriously weakened from this.

    For the danes I have a big stack to deal with on the road ahead, about the same size as my army, but after that their nearest city seems pretty much defenceless, and I have 2 good spies in already. Their princesses have proven good training for my fledgling assassins too.

  10. #10
    Resident Pessimist Member Dooz's Avatar
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    Default Re: My French campaign and feelings

    Ah, the first great M2 AAR. Add some images to the mix and you'll have yourself a loyal following my friend. www.fraps.com if you need a screenshot tool. Great stuff!

  11. #11
    Ero-oyaji extraordinaire Member Zoltan's Avatar
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    Default Re: My French campaign and feelings

    Hehe, I'd be glad to add images, but I'm not on my gaming computer now. Else I'd probably be playing, anyway. But I'll see what I can do tonight.

  12. #12
    Resident Pessimist Member Dooz's Avatar
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    Default Re: My French campaign and feelings

    Just email the images to yourself from the "gaming computer" and use them from the "write-up computer".

    Seriously. First great M2TW AAR. Quite the honour .



    -edit-
    Now to figure out how to go about giving this thread those pretty gold stars......
    Last edited by Dooz; 11-15-2006 at 07:22.

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