Battle Strategy

This section is for strategies to employ on the Battle Map either against another human or against the computer in a Custom Battle.

General Strategy and Tactics

Articles in this section concern strategy and tactics on the battle map in general, without applying them to a particular army setup.

This is a guide for facing and using the formidable longbow men of the English faction in M2TW. Hopefully this guide should help you in becoming a master of their use, and knowing what to do when an army of longbows knocks on your door.

It is easy to wonder whether M2TW’s pikemen would have been better off armed with the fish rather than long pointy sticks. Scipii provides suggestions on how to make the little perishers work as something more than cannon fodder.

I’m writing this guide for my dad but also for people who have never played a Total War game before and lose huge numbers of soldiers in what should be straight-forward battles. This is purely for campaign battles on open fields but you need to know these basics before you play multiplayer.

Frederick Lanchester (1868 – 1946) was an English engineer, responsible for the founding of the Lanchester Motor Company and many of the basic laws of aerodynamics (including coining the terms “aerodynamics”, “aerofoil” and the mistranslated “phugoid”). With respect to medieval warfare though, his main achievement was Lanchester’s Power Laws – relationships for determining the strength of military forces. These laws apply to many things as well as warfare, including for example the success of the Japanese electronics industry.

For most people, the picture in their minds is a knight, sitting atop a beautiful charger in full plate armour with a lance lowered towards the helpless enemy infantry. It is an image that survived through the centuries, right until you’re sitting in front of your computer trying to get the blasted things to charge properly. This guide will hopefully give you a bit of insight into using these dangerous units, adding a new layer of strategy to your game.

It’s all well and good being told how to charge properly, but you can’t always get it to work for you. This guide is written mainly for Kingdoms, but everything in it is equally applicable to Medieval 2: Total War and will show you exactly how to get the formed charge to work with video examples, allowing you to see what it looks like when it goes well or badly. This should hopefully allow you to work out what mistakes you are making (if any) and correct them. In Part 1, frontal charges are discussed, concentrating of the choice of target. Experienced players may wish to skip this part, as it is fairly basic.

Missile Cavalry add another dimension of strategic depth on the battlefield, there are several different types each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Many people think javelin cavalry are worthless due to their close range and uncontrollable actions when in skirmishing mode. This guide has been written to show how the opposite is true, and that Javelin Cavalry are perhaps the most formidable missile cavalry of all.

Multiplayer and Custom Battle Strategies

Articles in this section refer to specific strategies for set open field battles and how to use them to greatest effect in order to annihilate the enemy army or armies.

I write this as a guide for new and inexperienced players mostly. Better players than myself may learn nothing which is fine. The reason I enjoy playing the Turks is because their unit selection appeals to me. Their cavalry can be both hardy and swift. Their infantry does a respectable job, but is by no means spectacular. Their ranged units can pack a punch with bow / gun and sword. And finally the mercenaries for a typical online battle provide me with one of my favourite units, the Alan Light cavalry.

The Portuguese (along with the Spanish) have perhaps one of the best late period armies available due to the powerful and reasonably priced infantry that they possess. On a number of occasions (see below) I have found them to be simply too much for other opponents. The core of Portuguese armies that I have used has centred on musketeers, conquistadores and pike men with cavalry support. I have experimented with using cannons but they generally seem to be less effective than musketeers. The key element of this strategy is to win the missile duel before proceeding to defeat your enemy’s cavalry and infantry.

This guide is here to tell people about the constantly overlooked armies of Russia. In fact, Russia has one of the best armies of the game. This strategy is for 20,000 florin game during the late period. This army selection I have created has won me a large amount of battles I have played with it except for one notable ocassion. On that occasion I played against a very cheap player who had an all elephant army. Otherwise this is a very good strategy, but you may not want to use it against the Timurids.

Siege Battle Strategies

Articles in this section refer to both specific strategies for siege battles and the theory of taking or defending a settlement.

The primary implements in defending against a siege are castles. Hopefully, if you’re defending, you’ll be inside one, because they are far superior to cities for defense. That is why it is often smart to place your castles on the outside of your empire, and your cities within. This layered approach works well in the early game, when settlements can still be converted. That is one of the cases for an early quick advance.

The scheme relies less on having the right composition of troops and superior castle defences, but more on sound cavalry tactics and superior movement based defence. You must have a superior cavalry force. This is only ever a problem against the Mongols who arrive in hordes. I will list a unique tactic against them.

This article was written to highlight the Pros and Cons of the siege warfare equipment available to the player in Medieval 2: Total War, along with a section detailing the most effective use of the equipment. Siege warfare can be an ugly affair, but this guide should help you master this part of the game.

Faction and Map Overviews

Articles in this section are overviews of the factions and maps available in Multiplayer and Custom Battles and how to use them to your best advantage.

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!