I've been playing the game for a while now and was wondering how others were playing it, seeing as it gives you the freedom to manage your empire pretty much how you want. So, I've got a few questions for the community to see how you all play, and hopefully we can share successful strategies and tactics (especially considering that the game can get quite difficult).
1. How far have you managed to expand your empire so far? Have you expanded in a linear fashion or have you captured towns deep in enemy territory?
2. Which faction or factions have given you the most trouble? Have you found any strategy which you find works well against them?
3. How do you spend each season of the year? Do you dedicate part of the year to defending or exploring, for example? Or do you campaign all year round?
4. When you capture a major city (e.g. Pherae, Olynthus) do you leave it with walls to prevent easy capture and protect it as an asset, or without to deter rebellion?
5. What's your most effective way of capturing cities?
6. How do you defend against sea raids and land raids?
7. Do you plan your expansion or does it just "happen"?
8. What troops are your invasion armies composed of?
9. What has your high point been so far?
10. What has your low/most frustrating point been so far?
1. So far I've reached Amphipolis and Eion in the east; Edomene in the north; Tymphia and Diabolis in the west; all of Thessaly in the south, including all the coastal Athenian towns. I expand in a linear way.
2. Athens without a doubt has given me the most trouble, although Illyria, Western Odrysia and the Paeonians also cause me difficulty on a regular basis. I found that stationing strong forces on my north and western borders deters raids by the tribal peoples, but the Athenians are tenacious. They can afford many more triremes than me (not to mention of better quality), and sometimes land 15 units at a time. I've tried cutting them off but they just seem to send more every year!
3. I tend to focus on defensive actions in Spring; counter-attacks in Summer; invasions in Autumn and continued invasions in Winter until I run short of food. If I'm not too hard-pressed then I send the Companion Cavalry and triremes off exploring.
4. I tear down the walls (unless the city is on the border) because keeping a large enough garrison is costly. However this leaves the towns as very vulnerable high value targets. The AI factions know this and attack them relentlessly, so I may change my strategy.
5. Firstly I move two units of high morale heavy infantry just out of the city's range, then open up with a unit or two of catapults. I have companion cavalry on standby to plug any gaps in my line which threaten the catapults, but generally my infantry are able to rout the defenders repeatedly until the town runs out of food. The cavalry also defends against relief forces sent from nearby cities. Once the town is reduced to 0, I just send in the troops to capture it.
6. Ineffectually, especially against sea raids. I never seem to have strong enough garrisons and end up sending units into the meat grinder again and again until I wear the attackers out. The problem is there are so many places the Athenians can land it's difficult to defend them all.
7. Sometimes I'll have a plan to take a certain city in a certain year, but often I find that my plans end up modified by opportunity - a counter-attack might lead me to defeat a weakened garrison or I might find that my army has the momentum to keep on expanding in a certain direction even after securing its objectives.
8. Hypaspists, Companion Cavalry, Catapults and one or two other infantry units (usually the Amphyctions or some Phlangites).
9. Wiping out the Thessalians and Pheraeans in one year, then turning my army northwest and finally taking revenge on the damned Illyrians until they haven't dared to attack me since.
10. Losing Olynthus and Pherae to a coordinated Athenian attack and at the same time losing two coastal towns to revolts (while I was dismantling their walls!). That's the only time I've reloaded I was so annoyed.
The AI can be brutal.