• Make alliances whenever possible, with the more powerful nations. Your preferences should be as such: Nearby powerful nation, nearby smaller nation, faraway powerful nation, faraway smaller nation. Bear this in mind when choosing between two nations.
• Make each province as productive as possible. This means searching your armies for leaders with high acumen to govern, high taxes, relative to happiness obviously. Also, make castles etc in each province. In Shogun one could get away with just a few big centers. You need full productive capability EVRYWHERE to cover all possible eventualities.
• Keep armies spread out across provinces, lowering their costs.
• Crusades are useful to curry favor and possible 1000 florin rewards – only do so if you are strong, as they can be a drain on resources – BUT – use a crusade as a weapon on neighbors. Pass one through provinces with large foreign armies in them and deplete their strength. Crusades can often gain you useful provinces – Khazar and Greece have proven useful targets to me, but the nature of the game means this certainly will never work all the time.
• Don’t hang about. Waiting can let you get bigger armies, but it also works for possible enemies. I have often found there to be a ‘critical point’ someway into a game. At this point, other nations have fought and one or two have come out on top (often the Egyptians/Almohads/Turks) and your nation, if not one of these should be contesting with other nations to establish a dominating empire. Normally I play as the English. Therefore, about 75 years into the game, there is a critical point where both the Holy Roman Empire and the French/Spanish are threatening, for example. At this point, if victory is attained, I gain dominance of Western Europe and break into new territory and gain wealth in abundance. Often these points will come when you have too many armies to be supported by your provinces. Wars should bring new money and land to support further expansion.
• Early on, Inns provide Mercenaries who will possibly give you a sneaky advantage over the enemies earlier on – Often foreign troops, possibly special units, will be available, giving a cheap-ish and short term edge.
• When you fight a large battle, watch the King, in two ways. First of all, if he is a dire commander, remove him from the army, as he will always fight otherwise, meaning your army is worse led than under a less noble but better commander. Secondly, in a fight, keep the Kings/Generals unit, usually cavalry, for flank attacks or final assaults, unless fighting much weaker opposition – Keep them safe, as if a battle is a stalemate, a leaders death will win the field for the other side.
• Therefore, go for the enemy leader if he is in realistic reach of troops – if he falls, then it will demoralize the enemy greatly.
• As well as tax, farmland is very useful for money, as are mines, merchant buildings and ports. Build these first.
• If Catholic, DO NOT GET EXCOMMUNICATED! Watch for other Catholics being excommunicated, and attack them then if possible. Otherwise, make quick peaces, but this is risky.
• The Mediterranean islands *can* be a real pain. Usually seized/held by the Byzantines, Sicilians, Italians or the Almohads, (but obviously not exclusively) they can launch attacks on any of the provinces on the coast as long as the nation has boats to them, and no ships are guarding the coasts. Therefore, when advancing armies always make sure you have boats one step ahead – your best ships should be all the way to Italy when your troops are only just reaching North Africa from Spain. It is crucial you keep the shores protected, and it also means you can eventually attack other nation’s unguarded ports.
• When conquering other religions strongholds, bring your own religious people. This will help pacify and then convert your population to your side, making your life a lot easier. Otherwise revolts will happen the whole time.
• Also do this in your own lands. Foreign preachers will constantly appear and slowly convert populations. Your men will also protect your troops from the evil Inquisitors.
Building Guide –
Let’s say there is a ‘virgin’ province as it were, for example the ones at the start of a game in your possession – high loyalty and no real danger, and nothing at all in it.
First of all, build 20% farmland, Watch Towers, Fort/Motte, Horse Breeder and then the first castle building. This provides the groundwork for all possible further upgrades.
Once this is built, if possible, build a port, then any mines that the province can use to generate extra income. After this, construct a border fort to stop annoying foreign spies, a Town Watch, and then build 40% land. This will greatly improve revenues, especially when coupled with high taxes – Press Shift to keep an eye on loyalty though!
Now you can build weapons. A bowyer and spear maker should be made next, then follow this up with a horse building, and then any other buildings you can, such as further defensive upgrades, merchant buildings (do this beforehand if you want even more money quicker) and then upgrade the castle again.
Now you get to the first real effective Cities. First of all, construct all possible warfare upgrades – Sword smith, and then workshops for the bowyers and spear makers and better horses. Royal courts will gain you access to higher quality horses to. It is crucial you do this at each stage, as otherwise you will have highly advanced cities with no real strong defenses. Always upgrade the town watch buildings – Western/Northern nations will eventually get Halberdiers, and the Almohads get the highly useful Almohad Urban Militia. Then, build any more advanced mines, and any other warfare buildings – the first armories etc. Siege weapons are not always as necessary, but you will certainly need several provinces capable of producing high quality siege weapons, preferably on the coasts for quick movement.
Upgrade to a castle and repeat this process. By now wars will be underway, so your home nations will have reached this stage above others. Build armories/metal workers before other troop buildings to give all your troops an advantage, and then upgrade all possible troop buildings, then revenue – 60% land, merchant buildings etc. Docks are also vitally important by this time. Combined with bell foundries, they provide excellent ships. On the subject of gunpowder, I found handgunners pretty useless, but Arquebusiers can be extremely useful, so don’t shirk from building the workshops. Bell foundries are very useful for sieges/ships, so construct them too.
Once you reach the fortress/citadel stage, for one thing, you will know enough to carry on. Otherwise, advance the economic/weapon threads as far as possible, then concentrate on other buildings.
Troop Guide –
In general, I build a standard army, as the English. One must adapt this to accommodate other nations special troops, for example the Byzantine Infantry or Egyptian Ghazi Infantry.
4 Archer units – Longbows for English, a mix of Arquebusiers/Pavise soldiers for other nations
4 ‘Grunt’ units – these provide a backbone – usually Men At Arms
3 Support units – Pikemen/Sergeants/Billmen – Anti-cavalry, useful for side attacks etc
4 Horse units – 2 Feudal/Royal Knights for heavy attacks, and Feudal/Mounted sergeants for harassment and flank attacks.
This is a standard, advanced army. Earlier on one would obviously use Archers/Desert Archers, Hobilars, Vikings and the like. Later on, additional units of troops such as Halberdiers are vital to providing a killer punch in attacks. This army is also a large one – vital for the massive frontal assaults you will launch later on.
A siege army needs a different make up. No horses and less support troops, replaced by siege weaponry. If you are attacking a small but strongly defended castle, bring more troops, if vice versa then vive versa!
Battle guide –
This the is the real meat of the game, the battles.
I am taking it as though one is using the army as stated above. First of all, try to attack on day that suits you. If you have archers, which you should really do, then do not attack on a rainy day. If however, you know the enemy is relying heavily on archers, you can sacrifice your efficiency for protection against the enemy.
Often, the defending army will take up high ground or go into the woods. Scout out the area of the battle beforehand, and when you start, send out a horse unit to find the enemy positions. If they are on a hill, be wary. Their projectile units will be able to rain death on you from afar.
If it is a steep hill, you need to be brave and accept losses. If possible, tie down their forces with a small but strong core, and then use lighter and more numerous troops to attack the flanks of an enemy – if possible scale heights to flank them in their strong positions. On the other hand, using archers to draw the enemy off hills, especially rebel armies is an effective tactic, but on which will not fool a decent commander.
A shallow hill is a lot easier. Try to attack from all angles, using archers to cover assaults by your troops. Try to ‘batter’ straight into their lines, targeting weakest units around, and use flanking soldiers to harass them.
*NOTE* - Flanking tactics are vital. However, only launch them once the core unit is engaged in the fighting. This way, the enemy cannot react to the flanking attack and will be caught between two forces. In an ideal world, launch the flanking attack a few seconds after the core assault, so by it hits just as the main fighting is enjoined, and the enemy is embroiled.
Trees are more annoying. If an enemy is well embedded in a forest, you need to be wily. Drawing them out might work, but again, simply charging in and targeting the weakest units with grunt/support soldiers will gain you the most luck. A powerful attack across the whole enemy front will work, and of course, using cavalry, hidden in the trees to flank the enemy is a clever and very useful tactic, but it only works if the trees are think and forest large enough. Most of the time I have found that enemy commanders often leave troops outside of the tree cover, and attacking these will draw reinforcements out, waiting for ambushes from your men.
Save some horses for routing if possible. Once an enemy army is broken, send fresh horses in to kill/capture as many as possible, as any that survive will probably live to fight another day, and it’s more than likely it will be against you. Often you need all your troops committed, but if you can, even light troops such as Hobilars/Saharan Cavalry will cause massive damage to a fleeing army.
Rivers are the worst things to attack. If there are at least two bridges, it is not that bad. Move one, smaller force up to the bridge the enemy has put most of its forces near, and move your larger core to the other bridge. The enemy will likely redistribute troops accordingly. If it does, attack then, on both bridges. Often, the second core will be able to charge quickly across the second bridge, briefly regroup and then charge to the aid of the first core, which should attack as the second group charges, if it is not already in combat. For this reason, the second core should consist of cavalry and some core heavy troops, while the first army should have all the archers and heavy defensive troops to hold the first bridge until the second force breaks the defenses – sometimes I have found the second group fighting for the 2nd bridge. If this is the case, attack with the 1st group and go to the aid of the 2nd group! If a river has a single crossing, prepare for losses. Use archers to kill as many troops as possible, and then charge across with heavy troops. Often the bridgehead becomes a carnage point, and careful targeting of weaker/leader units will be vital. Keep on reinforcing, and make sure you have cavalry ready to exploit any breakthrough, and archers firing on troops behind the enemy lines, so your troops in combat aren’t killed by your own arrows. I have found Valencia, attacked from the North, proves a nightmare! Beware of these encounters and try always to attack from any position except over a river!
Also, once you apparently rout an army, beware. If the message says ‘The enemy King/General is fleeing’, the army will almost certainly not leave the field. Keep your army together. If it says ‘The ***** are fleeing the field’ then you can chase them down. Beware also of enemy reinforcements. Keep your troops reined in if you know the enemy has more than 960 troops on the field.
Sieges, finally, are easier, unless it is a huge fortress, in which case it really is not worth it. Position your troops behind your siege weaponry, and making sure the weapons are out of range of the towers (test the siege weapons range when positioning them by moving the mouse over enemy targets and seeing the arrow color) and concentrate fire on the gates/walls nearby and any dangerous towers. Charge in with troops once the siege weapons cease fire. Sieges are very risky unless the enemy has few troops, as you have to sacrifice half an army for the siege weaponry, so unless you are far technologically/numerically superior, or are just wanting some fun (?!) don’t launch a siege attack.
Defense is a lot easier, obviously. Pick a strong defensive position, either on a hill or on the edge of a wood (not your generals unit is NOT concealed) and wait for the enemy. They might try and draw you down. Don’t give in, and launch a massive assault at them just as they group near you or back off a bit. If on a hill, flanking assaults are most useful, and if you can catch the while moving you can inflict serious damage. However, it is often simpler to simply sit and inflict massive damage using archers/gunners/siege weapons and fight off an attack after the enemies run into the trees/up the hills.
Do not give in to cavalry feints either. Often, especially in the flats of Russia where the best defensive places are always in trees, the enemy feints with cavalry. Try to kill as many with archers, or simply grin and bear any archery fire they unleash, especially as cavalry archers/Boyars are so common there. If you have fast, strong cavalry in a position to the flank of a feinting unit, try to charge them down, but beware of the Boyars, they are dangerous!
Defending rivers/sieges is simply a similar task. In defense of a river. Block the bridgehead/s and even launch a similar 2-prong attack on the enemy if possible. In sieges, if numerically superior, wait for the enemy to position, move out the castle and move out of the firing line of the siege weapons and then charge down the enemy army, which should have much less troops. If numerically/technologically inferior, wait for the bombardment to cease and then bloke up any entry points with heavy troops backed up by archers. However, I have never defended a castle except in Quick Battle, so it is very rare, and siege battles are only advisable if a last resort, or needed quickly to secure a province fast.
That is about as far as one can go for Medieval. One really needs to play with a particular civilization to discover the little quirks they have, and any suitable tactics to use, as well as lands to conquer. However, I hope my tips are useful and prove helpful!
Thanks for reading.
You start off with an easy target, the French.
First you should build inns at the three provinces at the lower
half of the English lands, in France.
Train Hobilars and Urban milita, by 1901 you should have attacked the French provinces that you can reach.
Before that you will have to bribe the Welsh army, take them to Wessex.
They will join the army that will attack Flanders, this battle should be easy if they decide to fight, not abandon the province.
Use the Hobilars in two armies, one with 4 units the other with 2-3 units.
The archers should go in the one which you think needs them, remember use the hobilars to surround them, not directly charge them (see my hints for this game).
You have to hire mercenaries, without them you probely wont be able to win all 4 battles, hire all you can.
You should try to capture or kill any French kings or princes you can, its better to bribe them than fight them.
If you've won all of them battles the French will be in Champanage.
They will have a big army there and will launch counter-attacks on Flanders, so attack them first.
That should be the French dealt with, the Germans wont be so easy, but you can get away with attacking them for quite a while without being ex-communicated. You shouldn't underestimate them or overestimate them, just slowly push forward from the north first, them down.
Make an alliance with the Italians, they will attack the Germans anyway, but will need help.
You should try to attack there main provinces first then they will not be able to make enough troops to counter your attacks.
The Danes will be a tempting target now you been warned by the pope to stop attacking the Germans, but their land is not very good and are better for trading with.
But the Italians are a good target, so close to the pope and
Milan has stuff to build ships.
A good strategic outpost for your attacks is on the east.
You will not have to do much to destroy the Italians, just do the same as with the French, attack them at once and when the pope warms you to stop attacking them you've already done what you had to do.
From now on it gets hard, you can attack the Spanish, but they are a buffer against the Almohads what will come in about 4000
troops if you just let them grow stronger.
So now we have to attack north Africa or well be in trouble.
Don't even think about attacking the Byzintines or youll have a long war on your hands, that wouldn't be so bad if the Almohads weren't coming in 4000 troops every time then splitting up and causing havoc trust me).
Now the Spanish and the Almohads would be at war for some time and the Spanish are probably going to be almost destroyed, this is when you attack. They will have to do a 2 front war, not so good as you should be one mean mother now.
You will simply need Chivilic men at arms and knights, if you use them right, you will be able to drive them out of Spain and destroy the Spanish and Argonese at once, dont give them time to recover, take them out when there weak.
Now your probably the strongest team on the map now, so make alliances and capture constantinople.
Once you have had time to recover, the Byzintines should be at war with the Turks and the Russians.
They will be no problem.
North Africa will be you target now, from constantinople you can transport troops to north Africa.
Try to keep ships in all the seas to blockade them if someone thinks that they should break the alliance. That would be anonying, but there is practically no-one that can stand up to you now.
So to complete it, go on an all out offensive - launch every thing you got at them and get troops from every province, but at any time don't train peasants they will run away which will make the rest of your
normal troops want to runaway.
If you want to know any more just go to the hints, I will be
putting alot on there :)