Scotland Opening Moves

By Glacier Girl.

Scotland is often underestimated in terms of its position because most players playing as the English eradicate these "vermin" fairly quickly. However, the Scots can easily expand into English territory and catch the disgusting English off guard. I played a campaign once as Scotland where I was a fool and failed to take York quickly, the dastardly English had taken it already and I discovered an army prepared to assault Edinburgh. Also, the Portuguese had taken up residence in Dublin. Needless to say, that campaign was a disaster. I created this guide so that a person playing a Scotland can learn some good pointers on the early stages of the Scots. This campaign is meant for VH/VH difficulty.

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A bloodthirsty Scottish general.

Overview

Scotland can be a quite powerful nation if you know how to use them. If you're smart, you can make a siege for your opponent a living hell with Scotland's powerful and wide infantry selection. The only real enemy is England but you still need to keep the British Isles guarded in the event of Danish or Portuguese invasion. It's selection of cavalry is, well, not so great. Since Scotland only has the Border Horse (a very useful unit), the Mailed Knight, and the Feudal knight, playing as Scotland can be very tricky if you're a player used to cavalry. It's good to go on crusades and establish kingdoms elsewhere to gain a Knights of Saint John/Knights Templar charter house so you have a selection of better cavalry. The Scots have a very fragile economy early on because you won't be getting very good trade since you'll be at war with most of your neighbours and you start out with one settlement. They have a meagre selection of units early in the game but later after your economy has stabilized, you'll have access to higher tier buildings that can recruit the powerful infantry that Scotland is famous for.

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Inverness is besieged and
York will be soon.

Turn 1

Scotland starts out with a cardinal, a spy, Edinburgh and 2 armies. No doubt that the fiendish Danes and English blokes are already plotting your demise. Take everything out of Edinburgh save your noble king and send them to join Edmund Canmore in his assault on Inverness. Promptly move the army as far as you can to Inverness for the day. Leave your cardinal in Edinburgh region as it has the lowest Christian population. Send your diplomat to England and establish a temporary trade alliance with the fiends. Move your spy down or across the delta to Dublin and you'll discover a nice surprise there. Dublin has a fairly powerful army for what we have right now, so we'll leave that alone for the time being.

Edinburgh:

  • Build-Port (That way you can gain some desperately needed income)
  • Recruit-Spear Militia (Consolidate troops for the assaults on York and later, Caernarvon.)

Turn 2

Use Edmund to initiate the siege of Inverness. Move your diplomat all the way down to Nottingham or any English army you might see and establish a trade alliance. After recruiting the Welsh spears, move Edward down toward York because those English tried a few times to send an army early on to get their grubby little hands on a city that rightfully belongs to Scotland. Your cardinal should be fine where he is, and if there's a region with lower Christian population, move him there.

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Those Highlanders pack quite a
punch at the start of the game.

Edmund Canmore's Siege Army:

  • Build-2 Rams & 2 Siege Towers (For the assault on Inverness)

Turn 3

Attack York. Since it is a small village, you shouldn't have to build any siege engines. Don't bother to siege it, just assault it and claim it in the name of Scotland! After it belongs to its rightful owner, be chivalrous and just occupy the small village, its inhabitants have probably been through enough turmoil by now.

Edmund should be doing fine up near Inverness, just 1 turn left on constructing the siege engines. By now, you should definitely have a trade alliance with England, get map information if you want but I don't recommend it since the English in 2/3 of my campaigns wanted 1000 florins for it.

Edinburgh:

  • Build-Land Clearance (Again following a policy of aggressive expansion and economy, this type of building is vital for your wallet)

York:

  • Build-Wooden Palisade (That way your village can hold up better against a possible English attack and for more building options)

Turn 4

You should definitely attack Inverness this turn since your starving economy can wait no further. Also, you should have received a mission to take it for a very nice bonus of 2500 florins from that generous Council of Nobles. It might be a pitched battle depending on the garrison and your troops, also depending on how good you are of using said troops. Don't sack the poor, small settlement since it's small enough for now. Anyway, after you take it, convert Inverness into a town because it's complete nonsense to have a castle on the furthest corner of map defending nothing. At best, it can be a small, out of the way city that'll just generate more florins for you to fill your pocket with. At this time, you should have all of your settlements set to the "Very High" tax rate for maximum profit.

Edinburgh:

  • Recruit- Spear Militia

Turn 5

Not much should happen in this turn. Right now you should be retraining your armies by dispatching units to Edinburgh for retraining and then return them to their respective positions.

Edinburgh:

  • Build-Communal Farming
  • Recruit-Spear Militia

York:

  • Build: Land Clearance

Inverness:

  • Build: Land Clearance

Turn 6

Again, not much will happen in this turn. You should pay attention to that Cardinal of yours and move him to the lowest Christian populated region. That was York for me.

Edinburgh:

  • Recruit/Retrain-Spear Militia

Turn 7

Another reminder - make sure that all your regions have the "Very High" tax rate because things are going to pick up a little bit very soon. You'll need more money for building buildings now that you have 3 settlements and for the fact that your army will be getting bigger.

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The Danes land near York.

Edinburgh:

  • Recruit/Retrain-Spear Militia

York:

  • Build-Communal Farming

Inverness:

  • Build-Communal Farming

Turn 8

Make sure that you're training/retraining troops in Edinburgh.

Edinburgh:

  • Build-Crop Rotation

Turn 9

Now, things should be picking up at a faster pace. Your economy should be fairly stable by now and you should be making at the very least, 1000 florins per turn. Denmark also landed off the coast of York with a few units. They tend to be fairly aggressive with their navy so at the first sight of their ships, train some cogs in Edinburgh to prevent vital income at Edinburgh from being blocked. The sight of some company patrolling your waters should probably deter any Danish blockading of your ports. If not, you know what to do. Also, right now, I obtained map information from the Danes since I would soon be at war with them and loose that chance after I'd kill their invasion force. Your forces at York should be sufficient to do so. Also, how is your spy doing? I had a watchtower up at the very corner of my lands so I could pry my eyes into Nottingham. It should have a very weak garrison easily killed by the composition of your armies. (Usually a general, a unit of hobilars and mailed knights)

Edinburgh:

  • Recruit: 1 or 2 Cogs and Spear Militia

Summary

By now, your economy should be stable from possessing 3 settlements. I would advise that you keep on building buildings like farms, roads, markets and ports when you get to it. Edinburgh should be a city by turn 15. You'd ideally want to build a Merchant's Wharf for sea trade income.

After that, move onto barracks type buildings and improve the quality of your army. Definitely dispatch Prince Edward to Caernarvon and take it. The garrison there can be a little tricky since it has good archer type units and the AI tends to defend the wall fairly effectively. Once Caernarvon is in your hands, convert it to a town since Nottingham will soon belong to you and begin consolidating your forces for an assault on Nottingham. This army would ideally consist of spears and highland archers. You'll want to have a second one on standby since England will not be a happy camper once you take it.

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Caernarvon won't stand against
such a host.

Press onward toward London to banish the English scum from the British Isles. Once you have access to decent units, build some good cavalry and take Dublin. Be careful in that fight as the AI has 2 Galloglaich guarding it. By now, the British Isles will belong solely to you. You'll have several good cities generating a respectable amount of florins. Be sure to build up your navy so that any enemy invasion force could be delayed or destroyed and you'll have time to prepare.

Crusade your way over to the Holy Land and start up a colony there. Make sure that you have several young generals to serve as governors and good army to resist Saracen attempts to retake their lost land. If you want, bring some priests that you'd like to train and get them on the College of Cardinals.

Send a diplomat to Rome to mend any scarred relationships you might have as a result of your unification wars of Britain. Lastly, expand in England's footsteps into France by taking Caen, then expanding into an empire that'll stretch to far edges of the earth. And may God be with you on this treacherous and bumpy journey to recognition as a global power both fiscally and militarily.