Combat basics Edit
There are a couple of basics that should be remembered when sending your army into battle:
Know your strengths and weaknesses Edit
Every faction has its own specific set of units with all their pros and cons. Learn how to form an effective army by using all military buildings you have. Some factions are better in the 17th century, some come out strong in the 18th century. Fox example, Algeria and Turkey are outclassed late in the game, but can deal a blow early with cheap, massed troops. Both also have some advantage with artillery and ships.
Know your enemy Edit
Keeping an eye on the enemy is at least as important as building up your own army. Send out scouts in the earlier game to find out what the enemy is doing, what his forces are, and then think of a way to counter them.
In the later game, all factions except Algeria und Turkey can research the Montgolfier balloon to unveil the entire map. This way, the enemy's forces can be seen without having to send out scouts.
Reacting to the enemy's forces is a key point in every strategy game. If you encounter melee infantry, train dragoons. If the enemy has mainly ranged units, counter them with hussars.
Use your troops effectively Edit
When charging into battle, it is every army commander's question which units to send in first and how to make the most effective use of your whole army.
Units like skirmishers that can deal a lot of damage are often vulnerable, so make sure to protect them as good as you can. Defensively strong units like Roundsheers, armored Pikemen or heavy cavalry should form the front line to absorb attacks, while ranged units deal damage from the distance.
Especially for infantry, it is recommended to create formations with officers and drummers to increase their combat values (+2 each on damage and general defense). Heavy cavalry can form formations as well, giving them +1 on attack and defense. Letting infantry formations stand ground gives them an even higher bonus, which is useful when defending.
Use the terrain Edit
On maps with many hills and plateaus, it is often battle-decisive to make use of elevated positions. Ranged units gain a range bonus when firing from higher ground. Further, plateaus are often easier to defend because of their choke points.
It is also possible to hide behind hills to avoid being hit by cannon fire.
Using artillery Edit
When playing with artillery enabled, these units can deal massive blows, especially to clustered troops. While cannons have a long range, firing directly and dealing damage to a relatively small area, howitzers have less range, but deal greater damage to a larger area. Additionally, they fire at high angle, thus being able to reach units behind hills or walls. Mortars have a very high range, ut can only attack buildings.
Most factions can also research a multi-barreled cannon which fires grapeshots at a high rate of fire. They can decimate unarmored troops very effectively. However, they are slow, almost useless against armored units, and are easily destroyed by cannons or howitzers.
Artillery is especially useful when attacking a fortified position. Against a combination of stand-ground melee units and powerful ranged units, a much bigger army would be needed to conquer their position without artillery support. Since there is no clash detection for allied units, masses of troops can be clustered in a tight spot. Cannons and howitzers are powerful enough to break up these clusters, especially when the comprised units are unarmored.
Towers and ships can also be effectively destroyed using artillery. As ships can fire back at about the same range, it is recommended to research the Gribovalle system to make artillery more enduring.
At short range, cannons automatically fire a strong grapeshot blast which kills even strong and armored units. Cannons and howitzers take some time to reload, so firing them staggered can be useful to trade a concentrated blow against a more frequent cannonade.
Choosing the right time and place Edit
Estimating the best moment to launch an attack is both important and difficult. The more players are involved on a map, the harder is the choice who, when and where to attack, and what units to use. All-out attacking might deliver a decisive blow, but can easily leave a player exposed to attacks from another one. The art is to leave a sufficient number of troops to defend, while attacking with a critical mass of offensive units.
Following the principles of attack, it is important to strike fast and hard. An attack is even more effective when the enemy isn't expecting it. Depending on the balloon options of a map, scouting is a very important part for finding your opponent's weak points, and also for preventing getting ambushed yourself.
Letting fast units like Hussars ride into a fairly unprotected part of the enemy town can deal a decisive blow to his economy, slowing him down. An army can also be ambushed in open field, attacking the weaker ranged units from behind before they can be covered.
Protect your economy Edit
Besides producing units, gathering resources is essential. While most military buildings cannot be captured, any economy building (townhall, market, mines, storehouse) can. Hence it is important to keep them safe from attacks. Especially strategic resources (gold, iron, coal) must be protected, as mines can easily be captured or destroyed and take lots of resources to upgrade. Computer foes often tend to blow up their mines before they are captured.
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