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Thread: Battle tactics- tips and tricks

  1. #1

    Default Battle tactics- tips and tricks

    Ok, I haven't seen a compilation of just battle tactics so he we go. List things that may even be obvious to you because it may be a revelation to someone else. Any little thing counts; formation tips, use of X unit, etc.

    1. I always put 2 gunpowder units (arqui or muskets) in front of my infantry. I set them to skirmish so that they maybe get 1 or 2 shots before retreating behind the line. Then I move them to a flank and while the enemy infantry is engaged they shoot away. they will make almost any unit retreat after a couple shots. I have tried to find new ways to make them useful but this is all I have come up with so far.

    2. Want to siege a castle and suffer only 1-3% casualties? I use 5-7 mortars and the rest heavy infantry. Mortars plop rounds right over the walls and decimate the enemy. Then I blow a hole in the wall, move my troops and mortars in, and do it again.

    3. This may seem like common sense but it took me awhile to figure it out. I always had about 4-8 calvary units grouped and clicked on an enemy unit to attack. I thought that they would all attack the rear of the whole line not just that one unit. I had 4-8 calvary units all trying to squeeze together to charge this one guy. Now I give each unit its own target and have found that it is much more effective.

    4. I never use artillary other than mortars/trebs in a field battle. I have found that they are completely useless unless you have high ground behind you. Actually the one way I used to use them was to place one unit on each of my wings with some spears. While the lines were engaged they had clear shots and could wreak havoc. But more often than not the A.I. focused on killing the exposed arty before engaging. Therefore I don't even bother with them anymore. Maybe someone else has a method that incorporates arty better, I hope so because I love artys.

    5. If you have archers/crossbowmen behind your line make sure skirmish is off!!

    K, that all from me I guess. Please keep this going because I would love to learn everyone's lil' tips to better my own enjoyment of the game.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Battle tactics- tips and tricks

    Oh and I find light calvary to be useless. The only use besides catching routers it to harass enemy archers it seems but I am unable to really do much damage before they run back to their lines so now I just out archer them and it nullifies the archers completely. I refuse to keep a unit in my stack just to catch running calvary. I would rather pack more punch. If I position my heavy cav properly they serve this function quite well anyway. Again, this is just my experience hopefully someone else can show me a way to use light cav better.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Battle tactics- tips and tricks

    About # 4

    Ballistas are annoying on the battlefield, but I've found them to be good in city defense. You can have them shoot down the street towards the gate, killing loads of people, many times the general. Whereas with catapults or trebuchets they end up hitting your troops or knocking down your own towers.

    On the battlefield, put the ballistas at the front so they have a clear shot, and place high-attack units behind them (such as woodsmen). When the enemy closes, charge forward and counter attack them. You'll only get one or two shots though.

  4. #4
    Corrupter of Souls Member John_Longarrow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Battle tactics- tips and tricks

    Light Cav has several great uses.

    First, since it is fast, it is about the only way you will be able to chase missile cav with any effect.

    Second, it is terriffic against the rear of an enemy formation as it can get into position to charge easily. After they charge, pull them back IMMEDIATELY. This not only avoids having them sit there to take casualties, it also allows them to set up another charge. Scot Border horses are fantastic for this.

    Third, Light cav is fast enough to move around and threaten areas. If you have troops behind the enemy, they take a morale hit. They will also often come after your fast, cheap horse troops with something expensive. It is not a bad thing to have four light units running around if the enemie's four Generals are preoccupied chasing them.

    In all, I tend to find light cav more useful than heavy cav in most fights.

  5. #5
    Know the dark side Member Askthepizzaguy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Battle tactics- tips and tricks

    Zipper:
    Spearmen can only poke in one direction. If you pin them down fighting another unit, they are completely vulnerable to cavalry charges from almost any angle. Pick an exposed flank of your enemy and charge all your cavalry out there, pin the enemy with a unit and charge to cause a rout. Then pin the next unit and charge that one to cause a rout. Repeat again all down the enemy line, which by this point is badly shaken. Pull your cavalry out, wait a few seconds to let your infantry engage the new units, and charge again, like a zipper all the way down the enemy line. This tactic doesn't work well against cavalry armies.

    What horse archers?
    Horse archers are a pain in the neck because they are faster than you. But they are terrible in melee, for the most part, especially against infantry, and their ranged attack will only slowly pick you off, so basically just ignore them and finish off the enemy's general or heavy cavalry first, if any. Then decimate their infantry using the zipper strategy. You will take fire from the horse archers but you would anyway.

    Surround and pound
    Now that you have crippled the enemy, focus on the horse archers. Spread out your weakest infantry to create a "net" to catch the horse archers in, and maneuver around them on all sides before you advance. Pin them against the side of the map, and then charge in with your heaviest infantry and cavalry in tight formation, while keeping your weaker, depleted units spread out to catch them as they attempt to flee. If the HA nears a unit, tighten it up and the rest of the net as well. Then surround and pound.

    Triple hammer and anvil
    Think cavalry are useless when defending against a seige, except for sallying?
    Think again. Get your two or three best, heaviest lancers and position them a distance to the left, right, and behind the gate. Wait until they smash the gate, in fact let them smash the gate. Focus on ladders and burning seige towers, let the ram do it's job.

    Now the ram has opened the gate, and the mob starts swarming in. The object is to get a big force bunched together at the gate opening.

    Now charge! On all three sides, with staggered contact. Left, boom! Right, boom! Middle, boom! Instant rout, dead enemies go scattered everywhere. Pull back and do it again. You are doing a hammer and anvil attack, but each hammer becomes the anvil for the next hammer, and using three hammers at once. After the first charge, their resistance will become rather futile. Second, third, and fourth charges will decimate their attack. You may lose some knights in the process, but nothing will compare to the devastation you will have wrought upon the enemy. Once you slay their general, get some light cavalry to chase the routers and slay them all. Leave none alive.

    Gaps of death
    Solid lines of assaulting infantry seem like a good idea on the open field, but don't do it! Put some distance between the units, so you have tight formations with gaps in between. Instead of trying to angle and maneuver your archers around the enemy flank, put them behind your infantry where they are meant to be. Fire into the gap! Use artillery as well, the kind with accuracy. Or gunpowder units. Use the troop formation as a wall with arrow slits and pepper the enemy from a safe location. Your troops will be able to pin any that try to squeeze through the gap, so they would be attacked on two sides while simultaneously taking missile fire. Meanwhile, your infantry is spread out enough that there are enough men to cover your flanks to prevent enemy cavalry from attacking your archers/artillery. This tactic works great for even a single gap. Avoid hitting your own men by aiming for the correct enemy unit. Use crossbowmen at a smaller distance, as those bolts can pierce even tough enemy armor, giving your troops an advantage against the heavily armored. You could in fact use such gaps as a hole for cavalry to charge into.

    Remember that the infantry units should form up so that there are several short lines of men per unit, not a couple long ones. This way they last longer in melee and are resistant to frontal charges.

    I``I``I``I``I``I
    `C````C````C`
    ```AA```AA```

    Note the impressive artwork. The infantry have left small gaps. Now the Archers fire into the gaps, and supporting infantry guard the flanks or go after the enemy general. Meanwhile, the enemy's morale is weakening. Prepare a long charge into the flank gaps, which will devastate both ends of the enemy line. Now pull your cavalry out, and pepper the middle with fire. Now charge into the middle gaps at full speed.

    If the enemy survives this, even with superior troops, I will be very surprised.
    Ballista never had a purpose on the field until now. Use ballistae to impale pinned troops in the gap, and watch the bodies fly. Remember to send me your praises when you see the destruction I have given you.

    Another tactic: All cavalry armies.

    The Horde
    Heavy lancers, Horse archers, General's bodyguard.
    First, place your horse archers at the front line and move your heavy lancers wayyyyy back. Pepper the enemy to death and retreat while necessary. Aim for any heavy infantry, or troublesome spears. If the enemy have heavy cavalry, lure them to the back and meet them with a devastating charge with your lancers. The enemy won't have as many horsemen as you do, and they will rout. Now focus again on peppering the infantry to death, until you are out of arrows. Slay the enemy general with heavy cavalry if possible.

    Now, remember the triple hammer strategy for defending against seiges?

    Four horsemen of the apocalypse:
    After all cavalry are gone, and the enemy have been weakened, charge all 4 sides of the enemy army in succession, ad infinitum. Charge one side, Charge the next side, charge the third side and pull back the first, charge the fourth side and pull back the second, charge the first side and pull back the third, charge the second side and pull back the fourth, until they all die a painful, painful death.

    I have such delightful hordes to unleash upon thee...


    Clever names for the strategies in question are a trademark of the Askthepizzaguy foundation for the advancement of cruelty. Copyright AFAC 2007.
    Last edited by Askthepizzaguy; 08-05-2007 at 05:49.
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  6. #6
    Know the dark side Member Askthepizzaguy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Battle tactics- tips and tricks

    http://www.sendspace.com/file/jlwht2

    Upload battle replays for the above mentioned tactics.

    Zipper, Surround n' Pound, Triple Hammer, Gaps of Death, The Horde, and 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Very quick download. Just create a folder in M2TW called "replays" if you haven't any replays already, and drop the unzipped files in there. Then bring up your M2TW version 1.02 and select load game, and select load battle replay. Have fun viewing.

    Incidentally, these files are known to be buggy, in general. Sometimes they break, but they usually work.

    I strongly encourage others to submit their tactics in replay form, so we can see exactly how you envision your brilliant strategies, and prove that they work.
    Last edited by Askthepizzaguy; 08-05-2007 at 05:58.
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    Amazing Mothman Member icek's Avatar
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    Default Re: Battle tactics- tips and tricks

    when you see that your archers/x-bows will engage in shooting battle with enemy archers/x-bows ,rush your light cavalry and put it near enemy missile unit to activate they skirmishing mode. this way your missile units will start shooting at they backs and will not receive a return fire.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Battle tactics- tips and tricks

    If in a siege or men are everywhere sometimes CTRL+M and then Backspace :)

  9. #9
    Nolan Bushnell Cultist Member ataribaby's Avatar
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    Default Re: Battle tactics- tips and tricks

    Quote Originally Posted by askthepizzaguy
    I strongly encourage others to submit their tactics in replay form, so we can see exactly how you envision your brilliant strategies, and prove that they work.
    I agree. Those relpays were greatThanks for posting them. I just spent the last half hour looking at them from all angles - they're much better illustrations of tactics in practice than any YouTube movie.

    The way you describe the tactics sounds so neat, clinical and impossible to acheive, when in execution the battles end up more often than not in a big bum rush - planned chaos.

    I've only just started to appreciate causing mass routs since trying to avoid the Winning First and Fierce in Battle traits in to-be chivalrous generals.

    I'll certainly be giving the Zipper a try. Bunching the heavy cavalry in one mass looks devastating.

    As for your Triple Hammer, several of those Hospitaller Knight charges were of the secondary sword-type. I'd recommend when charging-withdrawing-charging cavalry that you hold the ALT key on the re-charge. I've found they use their lances more that way so every impact is as crippling as possible.

    Do you have any replays versus the Mongols. I'd love to see a fast Mongol rout (I suppose you can't simulate the 8 dread, 10 star generals, but we'd get the idea).

  10. #10
    Know the dark side Member Askthepizzaguy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Battle tactics- tips and tricks

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Quote Originally Posted by ataribaby
    I agree. Those relpays were greatThanks for posting them. I just spent the last half hour looking at them from all angles - they're much better illustrations of tactics in practice than any YouTube movie.

    The way you describe the tactics sounds so neat, clinical and impossible to acheive, when in execution the battles end up more often than not in a big bum rush - planned chaos.

    I've only just started to appreciate causing mass routs since trying to avoid the Winning First and Fierce in Battle traits in to-be chivalrous generals.

    I'll certainly be giving the Zipper a try. Bunching the heavy cavalry in one mass looks devastating.

    As for your Triple Hammer, several of those Hospitaller Knight charges were of the secondary sword-type. I'd recommend when charging-withdrawing-charging cavalry that you hold the ALT key on the re-charge. I've found they use their lances more that way so every impact is as crippling as possible.

    Do you have any replays versus the Mongols. I'd love to see a fast Mongol rout (I suppose you can't simulate the 8 dread, 10 star generals, but we'd get the idea).


    I appreciate any advice on making those charges more destructive. It's hard to get a good formed charge in city streets, but I did destroy 10 times my own force with simple knights.

    Of course, the "gaps" strategy was not so well executed. It works better for seige situations when the opponent is sallying, and you have artillery. I also didn't give myself enough infantry and far too much cavalry.

    I did manage to execute the four horsemen fairly well. I got the knights on all 4 sides. But it didn't work the way I described. I ended up using the two knight pairs on two different sides working together rather than all four together.

    The surround and pound did very well. I managed to demonstrate how the infantry sets up a net, and how to pin their horse archers against the side of the map. I also showed how to destroy their infantry and foot archers first. That was an amazing battle.

    I also like my Horde battle. I did exactly as I described. The zipper went off without a hitch.

    I tried to be as creative as possible. Any strategies for an all-infantry army facing off against cavalry?

    I think it's interesting to watch our legendary forum members actually execute strategies in real-time battles. Now we can see who is a good general, and who is an auto-resolver.
    Last edited by Askthepizzaguy; 08-05-2007 at 18:36.
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    Nolan Bushnell Cultist Member ataribaby's Avatar
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    Default Re: Battle tactics- tips and tricks

    I just tried the Triple Hammer using three units of conquistadores against a column of computer-chosen Aztecs. It's much harder to pull off than it looks

    The buggers stuck a unit of chanting Coyote Priests outside the gates. Needless to say the varied and pretty horde (of mainly heavy warriors) effortlessly handed me my ass back (with, I must admit, admirable, sporting politeness).

    On the second try, I chose the army for them using ordinary spears, archers and a couple of heavies. I still got slaughtered but I managed to take 60% of them with me.

    The holding-ALT-technique doesn't seem to work half as well as it does in street battles (it's good on the open field though, I promise).

    It's going to take practice.

  12. #12
    Know the dark side Member Askthepizzaguy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Battle tactics- tips and tricks

    http://www.sendspace.com/file/2oxpn6

    Legendary river defense against the Mongol/Tiumurid aggressors.

    This time I gave the enemy what I would consider a full strength army. Timurid elephants, heavy lancers, infantry, archers, the whole smash.
    The only thing they were missing was elephant cannons.

    I gave myself some of Venice's best italian militia spearmen, basic pavise x-bowmen, venetian archers, two ballistae, a catapult and a trebuchet, and my general was a standard, but I didn't use it or really the 3 units of heavy infantry. They were reserve forces that weren't ultimately necessary.

    Watch the Mongols get their asses HANDED to them. I lost so few troops, and I decimated them. Enjoyable to watch.

    By the way, I did this battle 5 times, with basically the same results.
    This is a proven tactic. It works every time. Nothing gets past this defense.

    @atari
    Yes, the triple hammer is tougher than it looks. It takes serious practice to get it done right.

    However, if you're in a situation where you have cavalry in your city, and you're using infantry to defend the walls, this is what you can do with them to bolster your defense in a massive way. Focus on wall defense and then if they breach the gate, smash them on all sides for rout. I didn't give myself ANY serious infantry and I had NO archers for the triple hammer battle, so clearly the knights were pulling their weight.

    It is an expert technique. Took me several tries.
    Last edited by Askthepizzaguy; 08-05-2007 at 20:11.
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    Nolan Bushnell Cultist Member ataribaby's Avatar
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    Default Re: Battle tactics- tips and tricks

    Quote Originally Posted by askthepizzaguy
    Legendary river defense against the Mongol/Tiumurid aggressors.
    Nice! I love the moment when that second big elephant sees his friend die, about-turns and decimates the Timurid troops massing behind.

    I think the Zipper one is my favourite. Lowly Spear and Town Militia against formidable Italian Spears and Genoese Crosbows. When I said "big bum rush - planned chaos" earlier, I wasn't criticising. The strategy is still very clear and devastatingly effective.

    There's a moment around the 1400 time-mark (about two and a half minutes in) when the cavalry congeal into a juggernaut and at around 1500 the infantry follow suit and surge into an awesome single mass... the poor Milanese don't know what's hit them; and then it's 'Goodnight Vienna'!

  14. #14
    Member Member Apostrophe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Battle tactics- tips and tricks

    Quote Originally Posted by Gregl26

    1. I always put 2 gunpowder units (arqui or muskets) in front of my infantry. I set them to skirmish so that they maybe get 1 or 2 shots before retreating behind the line. Then I move them to a flank and while the enemy infantry is engaged they shoot away. they will make almost any unit retreat after a couple shots. I have tried to find new ways to make them useful but this is all I have come up with so far.
    Well this is stupid but muskets can fire BEHIND your own troops properly protected and still do significant damage to the enemy while inflicting your own units with minimal casualties. The will have lower rate of fire as if they were trying to shoot enemy try the gaps in your front line. They will do less damage to the enemy and inflict some to your own men (but really not many, this is probably a bug or more likely a really bad solution to the problem from developers, since 1.2 patch did not change much) and will still have excellent effect on enemy morale.
    I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.

  15. #15
    Fighting the Good Fight Member Zasz1234's Avatar
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    Default Re: Battle tactics- tips and tricks

    Sort of related to the zipper and gunpowder tactics, killing the enemy is much more difficult than routing him. I started having much better battles when I stopped thinking in terms of destroying the enemy and started trying just to beat him. So use your missles, flaming arrows or gunpowder in the front and use horse archers to maneuver into the back, concentrating on one section of the line and then hit it hard. Always try and kill the general too, as this makes routing your foe much much easier.
    Inhale, exhale
    Forward, back
    Living, dying:
    Arrows, let flown each to each
    Meet midway and slice
    The void in aimless flight
    --
    Thus I return to the source.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Battle tactics- tips and tricks

    On more point on Light Cav -- they can actually chase down a routing enemy general, where most heavy cav cannot. This is strategically important on many levels: higher ransom potential, you won't have to fight the same general again in a different stack, and also super important if facing a Crusade/Jihad army.

    Also, LC tend to cost substantially less in upkeep than an HC unit... so why waste money every turn with extra HC units where LC will do? They work very effectively at a lot of the uses people listed above: harrassing missle troops, quickly moving around the flanks, attacking pinned spearmen, fighting missle cav, etc, etc.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Battle tactics- tips and tricks

    Killing the enemy is much more difficult than routing him. I started having much better battles when I stopped thinking in terms of destroying the enemy and started trying just to beat him.
    This is very true. If you just march your lines together and try to batter the enemy to death, you have to have superior numbers and troop quality. By using the above tactics, esp the Zipper, you will take much fewer casualties, and will be able to defeat better armies than your own. You will still be able to destroy the entire enemy army by taking them prisoner. Note that it is easier to do at higher difficulties where morale is more important.

    In most battles though history the loser rarely lost more than 1/5 of their men before withdrawing. Losing 1/3 was a huge blow. Take the crushing defeat of the French at Crecy for example, the French lost 12,000 out of 30,000 men, and the army was effectively destroyed, unable to prevent the 9000 English from marching to Calais. Agincourt was a repeat 40 years later with same results.

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