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Newbie struggles

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Level 6 Human gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on January 3, 2013 at 9:40 am

Hi, just bought the game and finding game tough at even the easiest mode - casual. My problem is or seems to be that most of my troops are cowardly in the extreme. I am forever reloading and changing strategy but when it comes to battles I get walloped every time. I know very little about the game so far, gotten as far as trying to defend Oolosa and the city south from there. Also every time I try to take another city I get invaded from other borders and lose all my farms and troops I send to defend, what am I doing wrong I wonder, and why are the enemy always routing my guys. Only battles I have won well are when I can trap the buggers between 3 fronts in a confined space. Any tips will be appreciated, thank you from an ultra noob.

Level 7 Human gamer
Alignment: Lawful good
Location: German-speaking part of Europe
Posted on January 3, 2013 at 10:42 am

Your (by far) best troops are the phalangites, spearmen are only good for stopping the enemy for a short amount of time and for cheap garrison units. Phalangites are good against hoplites and cavalry (as they are spearmen), peltasts are ranged troops, but the command for ranged attack has to be given separately, otherwise they will try to fight the enemy in close combat. The scout cavalry is (like their name says) only good for scouting purpose, because reconnaissance is very important in this game - and to fight a single peltast unit if they are able to charge into combat.

If you know where the raids are coming from you can secure these paths by building watchtowers if there are any near that route (they will be getting destroyed consistently, but at least you know earlier if the enemy wants to raid your lands) and by garrisoning troops in cities near their raid routes. If they make a massive peltast spam you can buy a unit of Thessalian cavalry (with 20 guys in it) in Olooson and Larissa, the Companion cavalry is of course even better but you may not want to let them stay garrisoned for years in some unimportant city.

Unlike the real Macedonian phalanx the phalangites in the game can do a great amount of damage and even two brigades of hoplites can rout fighting a single phalangite unit if you know how to do it: Fighting in Hegemony is based on fighting infantry with infantry, light and ranged infantry with a good cavalry unit and cavalry with a fast battleline troop (infantry). Ranged troops are only good for supporting your other troops so keep them out of your enemies' range. Falling morale can have a couple of reasons: Firstly a combat unit losing very badly will rout. Every kill of the brigade will raise the morale a bit, every loss will diminish it a bit. Secondly a combat unit that was flanked by the enemy will have a steady loss of morale until it routs. Thridly troops lacking food will lose morale until it hits zero, then the first strike against this unit will cause the whole brigade to rout.

But you can also turn the tables: Flanked enemy units can rout with about 75% of their guys left minimizing your losses and increasing your number of slaves. Starving enemy units can rout without a single loss if shot at with peltasts or catapults.

And of course prepare your units before combat: plan the battleline, the position of your ranged troops and cavalry (normally hoplites ignore cavalry if they can fight infantry - leaving their peltasts without protection). Change to ring or convex formation if your infantry is outnumbered and try to avoid fighting "to the side" (e.g. if a hoplite brigade comes from the right, your guys are like a column and only four of them can fight at one time).

Lastly, if there are too many enemy troops on one pile (standing one in the other) you may wish to sacrifice your phalangites' general as he normally stands in the middle of the enemies and is attacked from every side and as he is the last one that will die (your soldiers will die instead even if they aren't attacked at all).

Level 6 Human gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on January 3, 2013 at 2:15 pm

A spear brigade in the hot spot cities can go a long way to discouraging the enemy. I have found once you show the enemy that you are stronger in one of their raids, they will leacve you alone. So one spear brigade will not help much. 1 spear brigade with 1 phalanx brigade can win the battle. Spear to the flank and phalanx to the front.

I am currently invading the Tyrants territory. My army has 2 phalanx brigades, the Hypaspists brigade, the Companion Brigade, 2 Peltast companies and an Artillery battery. The idea in my invasion is to force the enemy to come to me. I move the the objective city and line up just out of range of their wall artillery. Then with my artillery, I "shell" the city. While this is going on, I use my companions to take farms. If the enemy sallies to attack my companions, the companions can retreat the saftery of my lines and then perform a flanking maneuver after the enemy lines engage my line. I then go back to capturing the farm once the danger as passed. Eventually, the city defenses will be reduced. Then you send one unit forward to seize the city.

Most cities have multiple trade route nodes. Make sure all of them are active.

Walls are very useful on the frontier cities and anywhere the enemy might raid. They can attack the countryside still but will have much trouble actually taking a city.

Mines can hold 40 people. Make sure they are at full capacity. Slaves are better than workers because workers require upkeep.

Income is a rate and is not saved and stock piled. Your income must be greater than your expenses or your units will go unpaid and morale will suffer as a result.

Level 6 Human gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on January 4, 2013 at 4:17 am

At the moment, I've reconquered all the original Macedon, and have extended down south as Olooson.

My main invading force simply is 7 Phalangite units and 1 Companion Unit and an artillery battery. 7 Phalangites from the front, and the Companion unit for flanking. Does any1 else see not much point for more all round units? Does anyone else find that cavalry scout units with only 6 soldiers, and peltasts which seem quite vulnerable to horse units, are maybe a waste? or am I the only one?
And with as many as 7 Phalangites units linedup side by side, it seems pretty easy to have them block off the surrounding area so there's not enough room for them to be flanked.
Will this formation I got going still work when I go further South and fight larger enemies like Athens?
Any advice?

Level 7 Human gamer
Alignment: Lawful good
Location: German-speaking part of Europe
Posted on January 4, 2013 at 11:51 am

You will probably never be beaten just with enough phalangite units, but you also have to consider that factions like Thebes have their 50-units-uber-phalangites and also a Sacred Band that is more or less as good as your Hypaspists. They can and will fight you with min. 5-6 Theban hoplite brigades and additionally 8-12 peltast units. And if they once start to mobilize troops, they won't do things by halves. My (until then unbeaten) brigades were broken and I had to remobilize an entire army.

Peltasts are very useful if used right. Of course one 10-units-brigade isn't a challenge for a 60-unit-phalangite or a hoplite brigade. But If placed behind your seven phalangite brigades, 10-20 peltast brigades could and would diminish your casualties. And as I wrote above infantry as well as cavalry is to fight with infantry while ranged troops are to fight with cavalry. And one unit of Scout or Greek cavalry can beat one peltast unit, more easily if they charged into combat. If you want more you'll need the 20-units-cavalry of Thessaly or the 30-units-cavalry of Paeonia or the Balkan Mountain Tribes the latter being mercenaries, the former not if you know where to recruit them.

Level 8 Human gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on January 4, 2013 at 12:20 pm

Paeonians can give you one allied city as well, from the mission. 30-strong horsemen squads are a bit annoying to use.

Archers, which come in larger units and have more range, are very useful. Allied archers from the paeonians are nice, but better yet, Cretan ones, even if they are mercenaries.

Level 7 Human gamer
Alignment: Lawful good
Location: German-speaking part of Europe
Posted on January 4, 2013 at 5:25 pm

[...] even if they are mercenaries.

Their prize shouldn't be a problem anymore if you keep track of the things you still need and, more important, which you don't anymore. And changing the garrison mercenaries with allied/Macedonian spearmen will also help a lot.

And the 25 morale don't have any impact: If your archers are in close-combat they're already lost anyway and if they're fighting with peltasts in ranged combat they should be able to defeat one or two of them. (of course not the Thracian ones :D)

Level 6 Human gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on January 5, 2013 at 9:58 am

You will probably never be beaten just with enough phalangite units, but you also have to consider that factions like Thebes have their 50-units-uber-phalangites and also a Sacred Band that is more or less as good as your Hypaspists. They can and will fight you with min. 5-6 Theban hoplite brigades and additionally 8-12 peltast units. And if they once start to mobilize troops, they won't do things by halves. My (until then unbeaten) brigades were broken and I had to remobilize an entire army.

Peltasts are very useful if used right. Of course one 10-units-brigade isn't a challenge for a 60-unit-phalangite or a hoplite brigade. But If placed behind your seven phalangite brigades, 10-20 peltast brigades could and would diminish your casualties. And as I wrote above infantry as well as cavalry is to fight with infantry while ranged troops are to fight with cavalry. And one unit of Scout or Greek cavalry can beat one peltast unit, more easily if they charged into combat. If you want more you'll need the 20-units-cavalry of Thessaly or the 30-units-cavalry of Paeonia or the Balkan Mountain Tribes the latter being mercenaries, the former not if you know where to recruit them.


Thanks for the advice.
Putting the peltast units behind my Phalangite forces is a good idea, and I'll defeinetely recruit a unit of Thessalian cavalry.
Cheers.

Level 8 Human gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on January 5, 2013 at 12:53 pm

[...] even if they are mercenaries.

Their prize shouldn't be a problem anymore if you keep track of the things you still need and, more important, which you don't anymore. And changing the garrison mercenaries with allied/Macedonian spearmen will also help a lot.

And the 25 morale don't have any impact: If your archers are in close-combat they're already lost anyway and if they're fighting with peltasts in ranged combat they should be able to defeat one or two of them. (of course not the Thracian ones :D)

Pretty much. The thracian peltasts are annoying, they chew up phalangites like mad. I tend to throw lots of horsemen at them with as many archers as I can get into range.

Level 7 Human gamer
Alignment: Lawful good
Location: German-speaking part of Europe
Posted on January 5, 2013 at 3:27 pm

The Companion cavalry (which you'll need two or three times in the territory of the Central and Eastern Odrysians anyway) should be strong enough to defeat two units of Thracian peltasts by themselves. If you additionally have one or two Thessalian cavalry units, they've already lost.

Level 8 Human gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Location: Reno
Posted on January 7, 2013 at 6:05 pm

I'm sure majority of us have been in your boat Cantwin. I found myself restarting over and over again when I realize I could have done something better. All the tips everyone posted are good :).

Level 6 Human gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on January 15, 2013 at 9:25 pm

Your (by far) best troops are the phalangites, spearmen are only good for stopping the enemy for a short amount of time and for cheap garrison units. Phalangites are good against hoplites and cavalry (as they are spearmen), peltasts are ranged troops, but the command for ranged attack has to be given separately, otherwise they will try to fight the enemy in close combat. The scout cavalry is (like their name says) only good for scouting purpose, because reconnaissance is very important in this game - and to fight a single peltast unit if they are able to charge into combat.

If you know where the raids are coming from you can secure these paths by building watchtowers if there are any near that route (they will be getting destroyed consistently, but at least you know earlier if the enemy wants to raid your lands) and by garrisoning troops in cities near their raid routes. If they make a massive peltast spam you can buy a unit of Thessalian cavalry (with 20 guys in it) in Olooson and Larissa, the Companion cavalry is of course even better but you may not want to let them stay garrisoned for years in some unimportant city.

Unlike the real Macedonian phalanx the phalangites in the game can do a great amount of damage and even two brigades of hoplites can rout fighting a single phalangite unit if you know how to do it: Fighting in Hegemony is based on fighting infantry with infantry, light and ranged infantry with a good cavalry unit and cavalry with a fast battleline troop (infantry). Ranged troops are only good for supporting your other troops so keep them out of your enemies' range. Falling morale can have a couple of reasons: Firstly a combat unit losing very badly will rout. Every kill of the brigade will raise the morale a bit, every loss will diminish it a bit. Secondly a combat unit that was flanked by the enemy will have a steady loss of morale until it routs. Thridly troops lacking food will lose morale until it hits zero, then the first strike against this unit will cause the whole brigade to rout.

But you can also turn the tables: Flanked enemy units can rout with about 75% of their guys left minimizing your losses and increasing your number of slaves. Starving enemy units can rout without a single loss if shot at with peltasts or catapults.

And of course prepare your units before combat: plan the battleline, the position of your ranged troops and cavalry (normally hoplites ignore cavalry if they can fight infantry - leaving their peltasts without protection). Change to ring or convex formation if your infantry is outnumbered and try to avoid fighting "to the side" (e.g. if a hoplite brigade comes from the right, your guys are like a column and only four of them can fight at one time).

Lastly, if there are too many enemy troops on one pile (standing one in the other) you may wish to sacrifice your phalangites' general as he normally stands in the middle of the enemies and is attacked from every side and as he is the last one that will die (your soldiers will die instead even if they aren't attacked at all).

Thanks for the advice, and from everyone else. I have conquered Thessaly having left the North alone and now have conquered the Chalcidian League and some coastal Athenian cities that kept send triremes with raids always when a city runs out of food. Maybe I messed up going East as the rebellions due to lack of food is a nightmare and using up sheep as fast as I can get em. How do I get back on track ?, my empire is looking large dominating the centre of the map. Thinking of moving ever eastwards towards Byzantium as I know my history and know it's of great strategic value, especially as Athens is a great navy specialist. Any advice on losing cities to food and should I go east, or west ?, but west is a food nightmare as well.

Level 6 Human gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on January 15, 2013 at 9:39 pm

To elaborate a bit further. I started from scratch until I got a bit of a handle on the tactics, usually sending one Phal unit direct at another and using another one two or three to hit from flanks and companions to rear or at peltasts or cavs. I had learned not to get sucked in heading to the western shore or north into the wilderness and took Ooloosen straight away and went a bit westward so when I kept going south I wasnt in a narrow defenceless corridor. then went took Tricca then I could come at the Thessalians from two or three differnt directions. Once they were sorted I took the Athenian cities near Pella and secured the eastern shore, then I went to kill the Chalcidians which took some time but wasnt too hard, just the darn food caused some cities to rebel and sheep couldnt get there fast enough to save it, lost about 5 that way so went back to saved games. I took some cities from the faction north of the Chalcidians to give me all the inner shoreline and a wide enough corridor. Now I'm not sure which direction to go next, who to conquer and how to do it without losing cities from starvation.
All in all it's a great game and you get to feel what Greek generals must have felt about the difficult landscape, I feel sympathy for those old timers now. LOL.

Level 7 Human gamer
Alignment: Lawful good
Location: German-speaking part of Europe
Posted on January 16, 2013 at 2:57 pm

The Chalkidike really has food problems, but if you run out of food in Thessaly, you have far too much troops. Normally you can beat a faction by sending 2-3 phalangite units and some optional peltast companies / cavalry squads. Then you have to attack every city separately with up to seven catapult batteries and battleline troops that directly attack the city (hypaspists and Illyrian/Theban/Spartan hoplites have high missile defense, btw). To supply your cities you've just conquered, you can upgrade your supply lines or make 90-gold-supply-lines back to Pella, that send 100 food/week. Of course, this is just a temporary solution for the time your army is occupying that city.
Pherae (at Larisa), Thebes and such are of course something like the "big fish", they defend their territory with everything they have, and should be attacked with at least 5-7 phalangite units with proper "auxilia" (ranged/cavalry). But once beaten, you can proceed with them in different directions as the "main army" of the faction has been beaten and should normally not be able to reorganize by the time you need to conquer all the cities.

Level 6 Human Keen gamer
Alignment: Chaotic good
Location: Australia
Posted on January 16, 2013 at 11:28 pm

Some things to consider to help with your "winter blues" are to disband some of your units (preferably in their home province or the manpower is lost) after the campaign season (mid spring to early winter). This achieves a number of things to help:
i) saves on food
ii) increases your available treasury to spend on diplomacy and recruiting new units in other areas for the next campaign
iii) increases the number of recruits in the city the unit was disbanded in so you can rebuild core units (usually phalangites) after a campaign.

I usually disband those catapaults, allied and mercenary units no longer needed as you don't lose any skill levels, and unskilled (1/1/1/1) native "light" units (peltasts (10 men) and Greek cav (6 men)). The light units are quick to rebuild if needed and new catapaults can be built before a campaign commences (late winter/early spring).

After a while you will gain a number of generals so use them to augment units' skills, the extra boost in engineering, morale, logistics and initiative can make the difference in a close fought campaign/battle.

One thing I've noticed is that the AI keeps enemy generals in a city while the troops sortie out to battle. Doesn't seem right.

Love the game BTW - beats Rome Total War.