The mighty Nordic peoples of Denmark, by Aurelius Scipio
You may think to yourself, how would I go about conquering the known world with a maximum of bloodshed and a minimum of diplomacy? Your answer: hordes of pillaging vikings! Here's an overview of how I play Denmark, where i tend to expand, and what units I tend to favor. As a side note (if anyone is interested) I play on VH/VH and keep full control over all of my settlements at any given time.
As a side note, when I talk about ranged units, I refer to their attacks in three ways: upward shot (volley), straight shot (firing straight ahead), and downward shot (firing from an elevated position into enemy forces)
Denmark is a land of heavy infantry- as a faction it shines in this department. It isn't a great cavalry nation, but it has sufficient to carry out any tasks needed. If you prefer the light, evasive style of battle, Denmark may not be for you.
Table of Contents:
- Peasants: about as useful as any other peasant, recommended only as a city garrison to keep people happy.
- Town Militia: similar function to peasants, slightly more effective in battle.
- Spear Militia: One of your only spear units as Denmark. They can be good early game as a filler unit for your armies, but become largely obsolete after a point.
- Viking Raiders: These are your primary light infantry if you feel you need them. They are quick and devastating against enemy units. Early game, it can be very beneficial to bolster armies with hordes of Viking Raiders.
- Peasant Archers: A good early filler unit, and decent for castle/town defense. I personally prefer to hire mercenary crossbows early game, but Peasant archers have an ok rating in all three shot types that I use, albeit with a fairly shorter range than other missile troops.
- Norse Archers: These are your primary missile unit. They are not as effective as English Longbows, but they get their point across. Good ratings in all three shot types. I find them more effective than Highland Archers by far as they have a longer range. All in all, an average but dependable ranged unit.
- Crossbows: And here we come into our own. I use almost exclusively crossbows whenever I can. Their armour-piercing bolts are effective against any enemy type, though they may take a bit to reload. Note that when using crossbows, their volley fire is pathetic. Crossbows are most effective when firing down at an enemy, or straight ahead. This can require some strategic maneuvering on your part to maximize effectiveness, but crossbows never disappoint.
- Handgunners: Personally, I never use gunpowder infantry. I find that they aren't anywhere near as effective as they should be on the open field, and they take too long to reload and fire. I tend to use crossbows from the moment I get them to the end of the campaign.
- Arquebusiers: Glorified Handgunners. Useful on castle/town walls, but not so much on the open field for reasons listed above (in my opinion anyway).
- Dismounted Huscarls: Your primary heavy infantry. I generally combine them with Norse Archers and Viking Raiders early game. Their use of armour-piercing axes and their good defense rate make them superb infantry at any point in the game.
- Norse Swordsman: As a rule, I tend to find Norse Swordsman less effective than Dismounted Huscarls. They are cheaper to recruit, and have a higher attack value, but their defense is not as high, and they aren't using armour-piercing axes. It's a matter of preference though, I have nothing against Norse Swordsman.
- Dismounted Feudal Knights: the same as they are in any other Christian faction. They are a bit less important to Denmark, as you have other heavy infantry to rely on. I tend to use these as a filler unit, as shock troops, and as screening troops against the initial enemy charge and arrow volley as they have a higher defense than most other Danish Infantry.
- Norse Axemen: This is the ultimate Danish warrior. A tall, muscled Norseman armoured in plate and carrying a Danish longaxe. When I get to Norse Axemen, I build little else in the settlements that can produce them. Other infantry is still good at any point, but I happen to like the Danish longaxe. Also note that these bad boys have a powerful charge. More powerful even than General's Bodyguard!
- Sword-Staff Militia: As a rule, I tend to consider anything armoured in plate to have passed beyond the realm of militia, but that's a story for another time. This is one of only two Danish units that can form a spear wall. If you're having trouble with enemy cavalry, definitely consider bringing along a few of these! The only problem is the late period in which you get them (Large City Militia Drill Square I believe).
- Obudshaer: This is the other spear-wall unit that Denmark gets. I tend not to use them often, as they can only be recruited from Citadels. At that point, cavalry generally isn't a problem for me (except the Mongols and Timurids, but that's also another story). If you like to be prepared for any enemy type, be sure to bring these along. They're among the most powerful pike-type units in the game.
- Dismounted Chivalric Knights: I think the only difference between these and Dismounted Feudal knights is a single point of armour. I tend to use Feudal and Chivalric knights interchangeably depending on what's available to train.
- Scouts: These are the lightest horse you can find. Basically Peasants on horseback. Don't rely on them in battle.
- Merchant Cavalry Militia: Armoured in plate, but worthless in battle. They can take a hit, but can't do much damage.
- Huscarls: Axe-wielding Huscarls on horseback. Your most often used early cavalry. I tend not to use much cavalry as Denmark, but if I did in the early period, these would be it.
- Feudal Knights: The same as in any other faction, heavily armoured and scary, but not great in prolonged melee.
- Norse War Clerics: Denmark is a scary place, where the men have beards, the women have beards, and the priests have maces. This is a unit of mace-wielding cavalrymen armoured in plate with religious fervour in them. This is my most used cavalry unit, as they can withstand a prolonged melee longer than some other cavalry types, and their maces are great against armour. Note that their charge bonus isn't great though.
- Knights Templar/Hospitaller: These are a good bolster to Danish cavalry ranks, though I tend to favor my Norse War Clerics. They're essentially Chivalric knights. If you need cavalry and haven't built a cathedral to recruit Norse War clerics, these are what you need.
- Chivalric Knights: To be honest, I can't remember if Denmark gets Chivalric Knights (I don't use much cavalry), but they're exactly the same as Knights Templar/Hospitaller but without the reputation.
- Mounted Crossbowmen: Another way in which Denmark shines. I'm an infantry man, but mounted crossbows are lethal. Their crossbows aren't as powerful as the ones used by infantry, but they get mobility to accompany them. If you find yourself in need of quick archers, these are them.
- General's Bodyguard: The same as any other bodyguard. I tend to be very aggressive with my generals, leading to a large amount of dread and morale boosting titles. Best used to run down routers. Remember, true Vikings lead from the front!
Here's where some players may question my morals. I don't use artillery at all. I don't smash walls, I go over them using ladders. I don't take artillery that needs to be babysat in battle. And after the charge, my units are mixed very thoroughly with the enemy's, making artillery risky at best. It slows down my army's movement as well. I'll cover the pros and cons of artillery here though, in case any other players would like to use it.
- Catapult: Standard artillery. smashes walls, kills troops in an area-of-effect. Fires standard or flaming shot. Inaccurate against troops though.
- Ballista: Half useless against walls, but accurate against ground forces, and effective against any enemy type. Fires standard or flaming bolts.
- Trebuchet: Slower than a catapult, but has a longer range and a more powerful attack. Can also lob stones over enemy walls to hit troops hiding behind them. This artillery uniquely fires regular shot, flaming shot, and rotting cows. The cows do morale damage, but not much more. Accurate against buildings, less so against troops.
- Bombard: Basic cannon. Slow and powerful, effective against everything. Best used for breaking down enemy walls. Inaccurate against troops, but can fire regular and exploding shot. Packs quite a punch when it hits.
- Ribault: Seven muskets on a cart. I don't find these very useful, as they only have time for a volley or two before the enemy is upon them. Useless against walls.
- Serpentine: light cannon that is accurate against troops. Absolutely mediocre against walls. Fires regular shot.
- Cannon: Best artillery you can get as Denmark. Accurate and effective against both troops and walls. Fires both regular and exploding shot.
Lands and Expansion
As the mighty Danes, you will start controlling only the city of Arhus. This is both a blessing and a curse. since you control only one territory, and it's a city, you will not have easy access to early powerful troops. But as a blessing, it gives you room to expand in any way you desire without bleeding your economy dry. This is how I recommend to expand, it is open to interpretation based on how you play.
Turn 1: Take Prince Charles and recruit any mercenaries at his starting location. Send him south to take the castle before the Holy Roman Empire besieges it. Send your princess to broker an alliance with the Holy Roman Empire. When Prince Charles gets to the castle, open his mercenary screen and buy some more. Take the Norse archers out of Arhus and send them south, along with the troops East of Charles' starting position. When they meet up next turn, you should have a full stack of units (or near enough).
Turn 2: Take the castle. You now have an area that can train Viking Raiders and Huscarls! Send Prince Charles and his army West along the coast. There are two Rebel settlements there that need taking!
Those are the only turns that I have down to a science. The rest is really just suggestions. I recommend not attacking the HRE until you're ready, and to make peace with France, Poland, and Hungary. Oh yeah, and cross into England and take the British Isles. Convert everything there into cities, and you now have a powerful economic base to support your aggression! Economy comes first (strange to say it as a Viking, but it's true). Build ports, merchant wharves, farms, roads, etc. whenever you have spare money. It may leave less to spend on armies, but it pays off in the long run. I tend to field Assassins and priests by the dozen, and send them after single targets. Given that I take out the Pope every turn and burn down the cathedral that same turn, it's a wonder any Pope feels safe enough to enter there. Remember, force gets you what you want. If you have the strongest military, and your assassins can quietly take out anyone who might oppose you, than you have sole say in how the world is to be ruled.