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Thread: Castles vs Cities dilemma

  1. #1

    Default Castles vs Cities dilemma

    I have just realised that I have made quiet an error in my long campaign as Russia. I am just over 100 years into it so I am not going to restart.

    Basically the situation is as follows: My territory covers all regions up to (not including) Sarkel to the east and up to the Polish capital Krakaw (soory for the spelling) to the west. It is a vast area and I am at war with Denmark and Poland on the Western front and the Turks (who control Sarkel) on the Eastern front. I am allied with the Hungarians through marriage.

    Anyway that is my current situation but the trouble is with my castle to city ratio. I have read that it should be 1 castle to 4 cities approximately and that castles should be strategically placed. I never realised this and have left the castles and cities as they were in the campaign map originally (I never converted them). Thus I have a large number of castles and cities (from memory the ratio would be close to 1 castle to 2 cities perhaps).

    The dilemma is this. Most of the castles are ready to be upgraded to citadels and thus if I try and convert them to cities I will lose a lot of buildings. Currently I have no economic difficulties and I am able to get around 2,500 to 3,000 profit per turn which is enough for me at this moment. I am also planning to send some Merchants to Timbaktu to gain additional funds.

    Do you guys recommend that I convert my castles back to cities and thus lose some buildings or should I just leave these as they are? I plan on invading Krakaw soon and then the nearby Danish provinces so should I just make most of them into cities?

    What do you suggest?

  2. #2
    the G-Diffuser Senior Member pevergreen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Castles vs Cities dilemma

    As long as your making enough money, you should be fine. In some of my campaigns, I have more Castles than Cities, and i still make enough money.

    A good strategy is make all your border provinces castles, and convert them into cities as you expand.
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Castles vs Cities dilemma

    Well, I may be biased as I always prefer not to optimize but rather "role-play" my campaigns (big mistakes and administrative defects were a big part of history!), but I'd suggest that you don't try to forcefully urbanize your citadels.

    If I were you, I'd do just what you say you are about to - take and sack some Polish and Danish settlements. If you could take Sweden and build Stockholm up as a trading city along with Helsinki and the second east Baltic settlement (Riga or Vilnius, I forget), the Baltic Sea could become one rich trading pond.

    Besides, if you're around 1180, well the Mongols will be arriving soon, possibly in the Russian steppes and trust me, you *want* to be sitting inside a nice big citadel with upgraded ballista towers when they arrive. Not that it'll stop the daemonic gits.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Castles vs Cities dilemma

    You can build big churches in cities which are handy for keeping unrest down, killing heretics & keeping the Pope happy so I tend to convert cities once they cease to be on the front line.

    Basically, if a castle isn't producing units - convert.

  5. #5
    Member Member Rothe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Castles vs Cities dilemma

    Remember that you get to keep barracks and armoury, so all of the castles that you convert will not be "ruined". The solution is not to convert the castles with archery ranges (that you need). Stables are not so important for many factions anyway, as most of the castles produce knights without any stables.

    I would recommend at most one castle to three cities. 1:4 is a good ratio. The ratio is also a bit dependant on the faction you play, as some factions have amazing city troop production capability (Turkish with janissary and cav from cities for example).

    I found that the English are maybe the most dependant on castles as the longbow troops are only available from castles and they are a bit slow to move around the campaign map anyway.

    The 3000+ florins per turn you mention seems low to me, but I am a turtle player more than a blitzer. I regularly have incomes in the range of 10 000 - 20 000 florins per turn when I go into serious war. This is because I have a lot of cities (about 1 castle to 4 cities).

    Also, remember that inland settlements are better choices for castles as inland cities do not have the port buildings to boost the income up to 3000+ per city. I usually locate all my castles inland and cities to the coast.
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  6. #6
    Spiritual Jedi Member maestro's Avatar
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    Default Re: Castles vs Cities dilemma

    My simple rule is that if the settlement can have a port then make it a City, if not then a castle. Economics wins wars in the long run
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  7. #7

    Default Re: Castles vs Cities dilemma

    Also remember, that as Russia you will eventually meet the Hordes (Mongols and Tims), and my experience is that it is much easier to break a horde assault on castle walls than it is on city walls.
    Magnum

  8. #8
    Typing from the Saddle Senior Member Doug-Thompson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Castles vs Cities dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by magnum
    Also remember, that as Russia you will eventually meet the Hordes (Mongols and Tims), and my experience is that it is much easier to break a horde assault on castle walls than it is on city walls.
    Hey, that was going to be my point.
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  9. #9

    Default Re: Castles vs Cities dilemma

    One of the things to keep in mind is that generally ratios are just guidelines. For one, how many castles you have is entirely dependant on how you're playing, and secondly on which nation you are playing. If you happen to be playing milan, a 1:4 ratio would be kind of silly since all of your decent units come from cities... Same thing with Egypt. Spain, late game, can have all cities and no castles if you really want to roll in the dough, since Spain can make tercios, muskets, gendarmes, and sword militia all from the city.

    It's also dependant on your economic situation. If you're raking in enough money with a bunch of castles, then stick with what works. If you are barely scraping by, convert some of the castles that don't see a lot of action to cities.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Senior Member katank's Avatar
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    Default Re: Castles vs Cities dilemma

    Actually, due to citadel's cannon towers being bugged, you are better off trying to break the Horde on huge cities with cannon towers.

    For Russian, a lot of castles isn't a bad thing. Lots of your best units come from Fortresses/Citadels. Dismounted Dvors, Cossacks, Dvor Cavalry. The 4:1 ratio is by no means a hard and fast rule. As long as you are ok in terms of cash, you don't need to sweat it too much.

    In my Russian crazed naval colonization game, I actually screwed myself over with too few castles. I packed all my family onto the 4 Lad'Yas that you typically get for fulfilling the first council mission and sailed everyone west, taking Arhus from the Danes and then destroying the Scots and then war on the English, taking over most of the British Isles. Meanwhile, the settlements back home were all turned into cities and I had to fight the Pole with militias once they came a knockin'.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Castles vs Cities dilemma

    I think you should convert some castles into cities, especially coastal settlements. This is a very rough estimate, but by turn 100 on a relatively aggressive VH/VH game, I usually get about 30-40k florins per turn and more money in the bank than I know how to spend. 3k per turn is definitely not where you should be after 100 turns.

    I'd convert any castles that are no longer close to your front lines, garrison your inner cities with nothing but militia, and make sure your armies are conquering something and not just sitting in castles eating up money.

  12. #12
    Heavy Metal Warlord Member Von Nanega's Avatar
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    Default Re: Castles vs Cities dilemma

    As the games progresses, the interior to my empire, the ration is 1 castle, 4 cities. The "front" may have all castles, if I am playing a faction with the best soldiers hailing from castles. But this is all dependant on the income of the newly captured settlements. If it is, say, Venice, I leave it as a city. Also I look at the population. As the game goes on, even the front line goes to the 4 to 1 ratio.
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    Member Member Neoncat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Castles vs Cities dilemma

    [offtopic]
    Btw, humm...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helsinki

    Founded: 1550
    [/offtopic]

    I usually use castles only on regions which aren't next to water and of course on some strategic places like fighting off mongols and timurids. Also places like in Catalan, near Constantinople and so on to have a buffer against possible attacks. I think my ratio is about 1:6 or so. Its just about how you want to play. However I really dislike this castle/city -system. Sure cities and castles were two different things on medieval time. However you just dind't tear you castle down to get a city and otherway around.
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  14. #14
    Member Member dismal's Avatar
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    Default Re: Castles vs Cities dilemma

    First, I wouldn't say 2500-3000 per turn is "enough" money. Not when those 6400 and 9600 upgrades come around. To me, there isn't "enough" money until you can keep all your building queues loaded and all you castles producing troops every turn.

    Second, there's not much value in having castles that can make troops if you can't afford to make them. (There is a little value because if you see an attack coming you can shift production to that area.) If you are netting 2500-3000 per turn you can probably only afford to keep about 2 castles loaded with troop production. A castle in a coastal province probably costs you 2000-2500 per turn versus a city. Better make sure the castle is justifying that or it's just money wasted.

    Third, I have found city walls and a decent garrison to be adequate defense for anything anyone other than the mongols/timmys is like to confront you with. At some point, thoughts of defense become secondary anyway as you are taking the battle to the enemy.

    Anyway, I'd convert some of those castles, build up your revenue, use it to muster up some offensive stacks and go a-conquering.

  15. #15
    Dux Nova Scotia Member lars573's Avatar
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    Default Re: Castles vs Cities dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by Neoncat
    [offtopic]
    Btw, humm...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helsinki

    Founded: 1550
    [/offtopic]
    Don't like it, change the settlement name. The province will still be called Helsinki region but hey the city will be right.
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  16. #16
    Confiscator of Swords Member dopp's Avatar
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    Default Re: Castles vs Cities dilemma

    You really need to adjust according to the faction you play. No point going all cities if your best troops come from castles, plus it is extremely dangerous to switch over. Converting a citadel on the frontier with 18k pop into a small city is a guaranteed revolt. When playing a Northern European faction, I leave all the Oriental settlements I capture as castles where possible. In fact, I would demolish Jerusalem and Antioch and rebuild them as castles if the game allowed me to.

  17. #17
    Member Member Zenicetus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Castles vs Cities dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by Neoncat
    However I really dislike this castle/city -system. Sure cities and castles were two different things on medieval time. However you just dind't tear you castle down to get a city and otherway around.
    I agree it doesn't make sense if you think of it as a "teardown," but I imagine it more as one thing evolving into another, over time. Most true castles aren't that large, and were often the core of a settlement that later evolved into a city with its own, larger set of walls, well beyond the original fortifications. So that's the "change to city"... I just imagine that the ruler (me) has told the populace to expand over more territory and build a larger wall system.

    Going the other way -- city to castle -- is more unusual, but it could be imagined as a settlement being in a hostile area, where the populace has to abandon the more spread-out settlement and retreat to life inside the walls of heavy fortifications.

    I very seldom run into a situation where I'm changing a city to a castle, so it's usually the more realistic, historical evolution of castle to city. The only thing that's completely unrealistic is the timeframe, but it's not too bad if the campaign is running the default 1 turn = 2 years. Apparently my subjects are REALLY fast wall-builders.

    Anyway, it looks like I'm doing what most others here are: a 4-6 city to 1 castle ratio as a general rule, but modified by local strategic and troop production needs.
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  18. #18
    Member Member dismal's Avatar
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    Default Re: Castles vs Cities dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by Zenicetus
    Anyway, it looks like I'm doing what most others here are: a 4-6 city to 1 castle ratio as a general rule, but modified by local strategic and troop production needs.
    To be sure, I don't target any specific ratio. I tend to keep a castle I capture as a castle as long as it is on an active front. I'd limit this to about 1-2 castles per front. As the front progresses, I will generally convert those castles to cities as well. I might keep a couple "legacy" castles deep in my territory just to produce fully upgraded troops, but I probably could do without out them if I had to. They mainly make it easier to autocalc rebels, and send an occasional stack up to the front.

    I never, ever, ever, never convert a city to a castle.

    That said, this approach probably results in a ratio in the betwen 4 and 6 to 1 range.

  19. #19
    Member Member todorp's Avatar
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    Default Re: Castles vs Cities dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by maestro
    My simple rule is that if the settlement can have a port then make it a City, if not then a castle. Economics wins wars in the long run
    absolutely

  20. #20
    Senior Member Senior Member Forward Observer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Castles vs Cities dilemma

    This brings up a question that I asked some time ago, and I don't think I got a good answer.

    When converting a castle to a city you are going to lose some training facilities plus there is a cost involved with the conversion (1500 florins in most cases), but one has the option of first destroying those building that you are going to lose anyway and recovering some cash.

    My question is do you do have to do this manually, or does the game engine figure those recovery funds and add them back in automatically.

    According to what will get destroyed, one might just recover enough enough to partially or even totally offset the conversion cost.
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  21. #21

    Default Re: Castles vs Cities dilemma

    No, you would have to do it automatically.

    The problem with castles is that they IMO take time to build up properly in order to build your best units. When your always continually expanding, it's very difficult to keep it up.

    In my games I basically keep 1:10 ratio if possible with at least a citadel protecting 4-5 cities, close enough to dispatch troops to defend them.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Castles vs Cities dilemma

    I just leave all cities as cities and all castles as castles. The poor AI doesn't change them to optimize things, so why should I be able to do so?

  23. #23

    Default Re: Castles vs Cities dilemma

    I'll have to go back and look for screenshots, but I've seen the AI flip a few settlements. It's actually pretty cool, since some of the castles that were flipped were shorline stuff, and ended up producing good money.
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  24. #24
    Member Member dismal's Avatar
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    Default Re: Castles vs Cities dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by nameless
    The problem with castles is that they IMO take time to build up properly in order to build your best units. When your always continually expanding, it's very difficult to keep it up.
    This is part of the reason I tend to rely heavily on units that only require castle walls like FKs and DFKs. Take a castle on the front, and you can retrain/pump out more immediatlely.

  25. #25
    Member Member pdoan8's Avatar
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    Default Re: Castles vs Cities dilemma

    Question: is there a way to convert large or huge city to castle?

    I just took advantage of the hostile Milanese got excommed and captured all of their remaining cities (Milan, Dijon, Genoa and Florence). I use about 90% of castle troops and the closest castles are Brodeaux and Caen. Marching the troops from Florence all the way back taking so long. Now, I have 16 cities and 4 castles (Nottingham, Caen, Bordeaux and Plamona). I need to make either Milan, Genoa or Florence to be castle for the Eastward expansion.

  26. #26
    Merkismathr of Birka Member PseRamesses's Avatar
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    Default Re: Castles vs Cities dilemma

    As Russia I usually settle for 2 castles, Vilnius or Halych and Bulgar, wich has been sufficient in all my games this far. Then I┤ll have Smolensk, Ryazan and Moscow left for my Theo, Thief and Ass-guilds all others (coastal) gets the Merchants guild.

  27. #27
    Praeparet bellum Member Quillan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Castles vs Cities dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by Forward Observer
    When converting a castle to a city you are going to lose some training facilities plus there is a cost involved with the conversion (1500 florins in most cases), but one has the option of first destroying those building that you are going to lose anyway and recovering some cash.

    My question is do you do have to do this manually, or does the game engine figure those recovery funds and add them back in automatically.
    I've tested this, and as best I can tell, the game does not give you the money for the lost structures. The barracks stay, as a city can have all the barracks the castle can (and potentially higher). The churches stay for the same reason. Siege weapon builders and cannon building structures stay, as do the armorer facilities. However, the stables and ranges go, as do any faction specific castle structures like tourney fields and academies. What I've taken to doing is on the last turn before the conversion is completed, I just destroy all the structures that are going to be lost anyway and pocket the money for them.

    The one I can't confirm is in the opposite direction. I think if you have a minor city with an abbey in it converting to a castle, the abbey will convert into a chapel, effectively dropping a level. However, I haven't actually done this, so I don't know for certain.

    Pdoan, no, once a city reaches the large city stage there is no going back to castles. However, I find the walls themselves tougher on huge cities than they are on citadels, so it works out ok for me. Besides, depending on the faction you're playing, you might be as well or better off with a city anyway. Spain and Venice especially have some really great late-game city troops.
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  28. #28
    Maximizer of Marginal Utility Member Snoil The Mighty's Avatar
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    Default Re: Castles vs Cities dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by Forward Observer
    This brings up a question that I asked some time ago, and I don't think I got a good answer.

    When converting a castle to a city you are going to lose some training facilities plus there is a cost involved with the conversion (1500 florins in most cases), but one has the option of first destroying those building that you are going to lose anyway and recovering some cash.

    My question is do you do have to do this manually, or does the game engine figure those recovery funds and add them back in automatically.

    According to what will get destroyed, one might just recover enough enough to partially or even totally offset the conversion cost.


    Any buildings you want to scrap for cash has to be done manually. I've actually come out in the black ripping a fortress down to a small city in a few cases. Though I regret having torn Bordeaux down despite the ginormous income it makes as a city. The friggin' animals don't know how to behave in a city environment....well until after a few cullings anyway...

    Edit-Guess Quillan covered this already-my bad!
    Last edited by Snoil The Mighty; 01-12-2007 at 23:01.

  29. #29
    The Dam Dog Senior Member Sheogorath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Castles vs Cities dilemma

    I prefer to think of my castles as a 'wall', I like to line them up on borders and at choke points (EX: Franco-Spanish border, two castles there and Spain is safe from just about any invasion).
    I also like to stick a castle on one or two of the islands. A castle on Sardinia or Corsica will give you a great place to start landing on Italy from, and Crete, Rhodes or Cyprus are good places to move on the Middle East/Antolia/the Balkans from. Of course, islands also make good money, so you should leave some as cities.
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  30. #30
    Member Member pdoan8's Avatar
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    Default Re: Castles vs Cities dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by Quillan
    Pdoan, no, once a city reaches the large city stage there is no going back to castles. However, I find the walls themselves tougher on huge cities than they are on citadels, so it works out ok for me. Besides, depending on the faction you're playing, you might be as well or better off with a city anyway. Spain and Venice especially have some really great late-game city troops.

    Thanks, Quillan. I just check to see if anyone know of away (even if I have to kill all of my citizens). Anyaway, I just took Bern (Citadel) from the HRE. I'm OK for now. I just recently completed the garrison change for all cities to use militia. Save me a bundle.

    Also, are you sure that the Huge City wall is tougher than the Citadel wall? I haven't had a chance to defend my citadel yet. But, my huge city wall broke after taking only 6-7 volleys from 2 catapults.

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