Chapter 2 - Combat Strategies
This section offers a collection of combat strategies and battle tactics to utilize in the Imperial Campaign, historical battles, custom battles, and multiplayer wars.
An important aspect of the Imperial Campaign mode is efficient army management. This includes fielding appropriate troops, effective positioning on the campaign map, and upgrading and retraining your army to field the best available troops.
A first decision could include how to produce your army. Early in the Imperial Campaign, its better to erect your settlements on an economic foundation rather than training your war machine. Like anything else, training your military requires money. Early in the campaign its wiser to use that money to build structures that generate even more money. As time passes in the Imperial Campaign, your decision to focus on economy early will result in much more income per turn--which will result in much more freedom to train any desired army as the campaign progresses.
Since you train one military unit per turn in each settlement, dont always construct every military structure at each settlement. Generating all of your infantry, archers, and cavalry units from the same settlement isnt very efficient. You wont train an army very quickly this way. Instead, focus particular settlements on certain unit types. Focus one settlement on training cavalry by building a stable there; or focus another settlement on archers by constructing a practice range there. A barracks is wise at many of your structures so you can train town watch to help "police" the town. A small garrison is good for keeping public order higher. Remember though that if you want to retrain a cavalry group to replenish units, the settlement must contain a stable. So build necessary structures along the front line so you arent wasting turns retreating well into your provinces just to retrain.
In general you want armies to consist of a mixture of unit types--some cavalry, some ranged units, and some infantry units. Since each unit type bears its own strengths and weaknesses against other unit types, its important to have each on hand so you can most effectively counter what the enemy fields against you.
Use rally points to position created units toward your main army; another reason is so you dont forget units youve created and leave them inside town and unused in your primary force.
Utilize spies to gather information about enemy armies and defenses. Because counters are so important, you can use the information gathered to train specific unit types or to merge armies to better battle the specific foes.
Build watch towers or use small armies to scout along your provinces to spot enemy troop movement. Keep your primary army mobile so you intercept any advancing foe or protect any vulnerable settlement on your provinces edges. Remember that if you have two different armies adjacent to an enemy army, reinforcements will be provided; though the reinforcements (those units you didnt move to attack with) will be controlled by the computer unless you lose a majority of your other forces.
Keeping an army positioned inside a settlement can certainly aid in its defense if youre attacked and it can add to your public order but its not effective in intercepting other forces as your empire grows larger. Also, parking a large army in a town seems to add to that towns level of squalor, which is tough to combat if it grows out of control. Plus the upkeep cost is a big downside. A handful of cheaper, less needy town watch can serve the same public order purpose as long as you monitor enemy movement near that settlement.
Specific soldiers lost from a unit group can be retrained from a settlements population if that settlement contains the corresponding structure (for example, youll need a stable to retrain a cavalry group). Also, as you add structures that improve weaponry and armor (primarily a blacksmith but there are temples that offer bonuses to weapons and armor), you can retrain the forces to upgrade their weapons and armor. Note that if youre using the retrain option to refill a units soldiers, the new soldiers wont have the same experience level as the grizzled veterans that remained from the previous battles (if applicable at least). Obviously its important to protect your experienced units as much as possible so they arent refilled with rookie troops.