FAQ And Walkthrough - Guide for Medieval II: Total War

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|                              Table of Contents                             |

Hit Ctrl + F on Windows Systems and search for the section ID to quickly
move around in this FAQ.

A. Before You Start................................................(000A0)
     i. Important Links and Websites...............................(000A1)
     ii. Modding...................................................(000A2)
     iii. Total War: A Real Time Turn Based Strategy Series........(000A3)
     iv. How I Play................................................(000A4)
     v. Important Events...........................................(000A5)
     vi. Other Content.............................................(000A6)
B.   How Medieval II Works.........................................(000B0)
     i. Battle.....................................................(000B1)
      a. Mechanics and Terms.......................................(00B1a)
      b. Ideas.....................................................(00B1b)
      c. Controls..................................................(00B1c)
     ii. Time Mechanics............................................(000B2)
     iii. Agent Management.........................................(000B3)
     iv. Managing Settlements and Your Empire......................(000B4)
     v. Managing the Royal Family..................................(000B5)
     vi. Managing Your Armies......................................(000B6)
     vii. Mercenaries..............................................(000B7)
     viii. Managing Your Treasury..................................(000B8)
     ix. Diplomacy.................................................(000B9)
     x. Religion...................................................(00B10)
     xi. The Papacy................................................(00B11)
     xii. The Mongols, Timurids, Aztecs, and The New World.........(00B12)
     xiii. Guilds..................................................(00B13)
     xiv. Bandits, Rebels, and Pirates.............................(00B14)
     xv. Missions..................................................(00B15)
C. Faction Profiles................................................(000C0)
     i. England....................................................(000C1)
     ii. France....................................................(000C2)
     iii. Spain....................................................(000C3)
     iv. The Holy Roman Empire.....................................(000C4)
     v. Venice.....................................................(000C5)
     vi. Milan.....................................................(000C6)
     vii. Sicily...................................................(000C7)
     viii. Portugal................................................(000C8)
     ix. Scotland..................................................(000C9)
     x. Denmark....................................................(00C10)
     xi. Poland....................................................(00C11)
     xii. Hungary..................................................(00C12)
     xiii. Byzantine Empire........................................(00C13)
     xiv. Russia...................................................(00C14)
     xv. The Turks.................................................(00C15)
     xvi. Egypt....................................................(00C16)
     xvii. The Moors...............................................(00C17)
D. Frequently Asked Questions......................................(000D0)
E. Version History.................................................(000E0)
F. Contact/Legal...................................................(000F0)
G. Credits/Thanks..................................................(000G0)

|                             Before You Start                       (000A0) |

   Medieval II TW  /---------------------------------------------------------o
   -------o--------\              Important Links and Websites               |
       (000A1)      \--------------------------------------------------------o

The FAUST: http://files.filefront.com/the_FAUST_v12/;7433123;/fileinfo.html

The FAUST gives the stats of every single unit (land forces, navy, and also
mercenaries), as well as indicating the various special abilities of each unit
in the game. It includes basic things like attack, but also includes when a
unit gets better armored from smith upgrades, if it has a bonus against
cavalry and to what degree, and just about anything else you'd want to know
about the units in Medieval II: Total War.

It's a pdf file, so keep that in mind. I recommend Foxit Reader - it's
vastly superior to Adobe's reader. (Thanks to Tiago for this tip)

Credit to creator BrandyBarrel of the totalwar.com forums for this very
useful file.

Official Site: http://www.totalwar.com/

The official site for Medieval II and the rest of the Total War series. You'll
want to check here every so often to find patches. As of 16 May 2008, version
1.3 is the latest stable release, and it in my opinion is a vast improvement
over the initial 1.0 release - get it.

A useful fan site: http://www.twcenter.net

Total War Center has plenty of discussion, information, and the like about
the Total War series. It's also a great resource for anyone interested in
modding. I rarely mod my games, but I was able to find some map expansion
mods for Medieval II and Rome here, which added some considerable replay value
to the games.

   Medieval II TW  /---------------------------------------------------------o
   -------o--------\                        Modding                          |
       (000A2)      \--------------------------------------------------------o

Ah, modding - the reason PC gamers are at least 40% cooler than console gamers.

The amount of mods available for Medieval II at TWcenter alone is a bit
overwhelming. I won't help you sort through it, since I can't possibly write
a FAQ for every major mod out there, unless of course I want to dedicate the
rest of this year to this FAQ (Bahahaha, like that'll ever happen).

I will, however, say that I am presently using the Regions & Provinces mod. I
greatly enjoy it, despite how buggy it is for me. 

I'd recommend playing the "vanilla" version (unmodded) through once before so
you know what you want out of a mod. 

Also keep in mind that no mod is perfectly stable. The game is designed to run
a certain way - tampering with this will obviously not always turn out well.
When your mod crashes, don't grab your torch and pitchforkand call for the mod
maker's head. Everyone's system is different, so expecting them to make a
perfect mod the first time is thoroughly unreasonable. Instead, tell them what
goes wrong - for example, the 1.0 version of the vanilla game crashed whenever
one tried to fight groups with elephants on the battle map.

   Medieval II TW  /---------------------------------------------------------o
   -------o--------\    Total War: A Real Time Turn Based Strategy Series    |
       (000A3)      \--------------------------------------------------------o

If you're familiar with the Total War series, the above title should make
plenty of sense to you. However, if you're not... then it seems pretty absurd.
Allow me to explain.

The battles of the Total War series, Medieval II included, occur in real time.
Everything else, usually referred to as the "campaign", occurs in a turn-based
style. The battles take place on a totally different map than the campaign, in
spectacular 3D environments (although the battle map is based on where the
armies are on the campaign map, so don't expect any grasslands in the Sahara
or other such nonsense).

   Medieval II TW  /---------------------------------------------------------o
   -------o--------\                         How I Play                      |
       (000A4)      \--------------------------------------------------------o

I usually use plenty of cavalry in my battles due to their powerful charges
(many would contend that cavalry charges are overpowered, in fact). I use
infantry primarily to handle enemy cavalry against whom charges are not as
effective, and to take on spearmen, against whom frontal charges are risky.

On the campaign map, I usually try to build up my population and economy. The
best way to do this is to build farming/town hall upgrades and lower taxes
(which also helps keep public order up). Unlike in real life, supply side
economics works well in Total War, helping to increase your population, thus
increasing your income from taxes and trade overall (or, at least, I've never
had much problem building up wealth after 50 turns or so). In the beginning of
a campaign, however, I usually don't lower taxes unless it is necessary to do
so (low public order), since the net increase in income from lowering taxes
only occurs over the long term, and you need to be able to raise armies and
build upgrades early on more than you need to start a long-term economic plan.

Remember, a strong economy is great - but it's called "Total War" for a reason.
The sole purpose of all efforts you take in Medieval II is to destroy your
enemies (or, at least, that's how I shall approach this FAQ).

I have completed a long campaign using France, Spain, and Egypt. I have played
as Russia, Denmark, and am in the midst of a game as Sicily.

I fight about 85% of my battles (if I'm hopelessly screwed or have the enemy in
such a situation, then I'll simulate them), as the simulation option often
leads to needless bloodshed. I am writing this guide under the assumption that
you will also play most of your battles.

Some basic specs for my computer, for reference:

Processor: AMD Phenom 9600
Graphics Card: ATi Radeon HD 4650

It's a great improvement over the previous PC, and can play Medieval II without
much issue. As before, I am not qualified to say whether or not you can run the

   Medieval II TW  /---------------------------------------------------------o
   -------o--------\                       Important Events                  |
       (000A5)      \--------------------------------------------------------o

~1214: The Mongol Invasion (Or "Oh Dear God What The Hell Is That!?")

If you thought Barbarian hordes in Barbarian Invasion were tough... prepare
to meet your second-worst nightmare. They will arrive in any one of the
farthest east Provinces (Baghdad, Sarkel, Bulgar, Tbilsi, or Yerevan), and in
huge numbers of Silver Chevron (+2 to attack and defense) units with high
command and high dread Family Members/Generals. I've noticed that their Khan
usually comes with nothing more than the Faction Leader Trait, making them
relatively weak compared to the other generals.

~1340: Gunpowder (Or "Fireworks Are Fun, But Guns Are More Fun")

Allows the construction and recruitment of the third level of ports and naval
units, as well as Alchemist's guilds, cannon foundries and cannons, and
gunpowder units (only available at cities). If you focus on building the
barracks up, you can get the buildings you need before this date, but I
wouldn't recommend it. You should be quick to embrace this new weapon, as it
will allow you to utterly annihilate the older armies, as gunpowder ignores
defence skill, shield, and half of armor bonuses. If you're having trouble
comprehending that, it would reduce the total defense of the Venetian Heavy
Infantry uniy from 16 to 4 - which essentially means that most old units are
useless against well used gunpowder. Cannons will also make short work of even
Citadels, and Serpentines can easily blast troop formations to pieces as well.

~1355: The Black Death (Or "Truly, This Must Be The End Of Us All")

In the course of several turns, almost every settlement in the game will get
the Plague, resulting in a massive -7.5% penalty to the population growth rate.
The Plague also shuts down trade from that city - and when this happens across
your entire empire, the effects on your empire and treasury are incredibly
devastating. You can expect to lose 35%-55% of your total population, and quite
likely go into debt. The only consolation is that all the other factions are
equally impacted, so you don't have to worry about them using The Black Death
to outdo you. The only way to deal with it is to let it run its course.

~1360: The Timurid Invasion (Or "Oh Look, Mongols With Elephants... I Quit")

The Timurids arrive similarly to the Mongols (I'm just guessing the date here,
I don't know for sure - either way, you'll get a warning about them), but they
are usually found more south/central eastern (often Baghdad). They're very
similar to the Mongols... but more powerful, as they have elephants and guns.
The good news is... there isn't any good news. Also, I called the Mongols your
"second worse nightmare", if you'll recall - these guys are your worst

I'll have strategies for these guys and the Mongols later on.

~1400: The World Is Round (Or "The Timurids Will Never Find Me In America!")

Allows the construction of level four port facilities and the recruitment of
the top level of naval units. The Muslim Baghlah is vastly inferior to the
European Carrack/Grand Carrack, even with its better morale, so if you play as
Egypt, The Turks, or the Moors, you'll have to contend with superior naval
forces unless you've got your opponents bleeding cash and thus unable to build
Carracks or you've got them landlocked.

Only Carracks, Grand Carracks, and Baghlahs can sail to the New World, and
getting there takes 8-10 turns, and once you get there, subjugating the peoples
is no simple task - especially the Aztecs. You'll have to rely mostly on your
initial wave of troops, since the facilities in the New World will take many
years to build up, and mercenaries aren't much good. Bring several priests and
merchants - there's gold, chocolate, and tobacco in the new world. Your priests
or Imams will be needed to prevent religious strife from pushing public order
to unsafe levels (you'll have plenty of other worries when it comes to taming
the new world, and this problem can be solved before it's truly a problem by
converting before you conquer). You can only start trying to reach the New
World after you've spent several turns building the proper facilities to make
a Carrack/Baghlah/Grand Carrack, a turn making the ship itself, and even more
turns sailing there. All in all, even sailing from Lisbon, this can easily set
you back decades. Don't worry, you can still reach the New World before 1492
and thumb your nose at Columbus - just keep in mind that Leifr Eiriksson came
to Newfoundland before this game even started.

There are other events that serve to reinforce the game's historical
atmosphere, but these aren't relevant to this FAQ as far as I can tell. There
are also random events like localized plagues, earthquakes, floods, and storms.
Storms will trash navies, killing men and possibly sinking ships. Earthquakes
and floods will damage buildings and kill citizens/soldiers. Localized plague
outbreaks will shut down trade and kill agents, generals, soldiers, and your

   Medieval II TW  /---------------------------------------------------------o
   -------o--------\                         Other Content                   |
       (000A6)      \--------------------------------------------------------o

*Initially, there are only five playable factions: England, France, Spain, The
Holy Roman Empire, and Venice. After beating the campaign with any of these
factions, you will unlock the Byzantine Empire, Denmark, Egypt, Hungary, The
Turks, Sicily, Scotland, Russia, Portugal, Poland, The Moors, Milan, and
Portugal. There's also the Papal States, The Mongols, The Timurids, and The
Aztecs, but playing as the Papal States is pointless and buggy, and playing
as the other three uplayable factions is not possible without a mod.

If you're very impatient (or just want to play as your own people), you can
unlock all the factions early. Just edit this file:

Medieval II Total War\data\world\maps\campaign\imperial_campaign 

To make all the factions are playable. Just put all the factions in the proper
section of the file, and save it. Make sure to save a backup file in case
you screw up.

*Again, do not play as the Aztecs, Mongols, or Timurids, as the game will crash
immediately. Playing as the Papal States is buggy, likely to crash, and
essentially removes the Papacy from the game, which is simply no fun at all.

*If you want to see a list of shortcuts, hit F1 during gameplay.

*Before you dive right into the game, I'd actually consider the tutorials, or
at least the guidebook - they provide a decent way to familiarize yourself
with the menus, and what all those shiny buttons do.

*Not sure of what faction to play as in your latest campaign? Set up a Custom
Battle and test them out (I usually play against England/Venice to test
anti-infantry capabilities, and against France to test anti-cavalry/missile

*This game isn't too historically accurate, I know. There's probably a mod out
there that attempts to correct this, but whatever. Don't e-mail me about any
historical inaccuracies - it's a video game, not a history lesson, and I don't
care about any historical inaccuracies.

*Most of the options are self-explanatory and based entirely upon your own
preferences for performance/aesthetics, but a few are not. Most importantly,
the advice levels, difficulty levels, and unit scale (which is found in the
options menu, not when you start a campaign like the aforementioned options)
are of importance for this FAQ. I recommend setting the advice level to none.
I'm confident enough to say that the "advice" you get from the game is vastly
inferior to the advice I give in this FAQ. The difficulty settings are somewhat
misleading: Campaign difficulty largely pertains to the AI's ability to raise
armies, build an economy, and managed its empire in general. Battle difficulty,
unlike in Rome: Total War, does not make the enemy's units stronger - it
actually makes them smarter this time around.

|                        How Medieval II Works                       (000B0) |

   Medieval II TW  /---------------------------------------------------------o
   -------o--------\                            Battle                       |
       (000B1)      \--------------------------------------------------------o

Battles take place in real time, on unique battlefields that are based on where
the armies participating in them are on the campaign map. Reinforcements will
have to arrive, as opposed to showing up instantly despite being a kilometer or
two away.

The Battle section of this FAQ is divided into the more literal Mechanics and
Terms section, which explains what all sorts of things, some clear and some not
so clear, mean. The Ideas section shares my experience with you - what works
for me, and what does not. Obviously, it is less likely to work for everyone,
since you and I are not the same gamer. However, I feel confident that my bad
experiences, at least, should save some stress and time.

   Medieval II TW  /---------------------------------------------------------o
   -------o--------\                  Battle Mechanics and Terms             |
       (00B1a)      \--------------------------------------------------------o


Effective Against Armor/Armor Piercing: Attacks of this type ignore 50% of the
target's armor bonus to defense, making them more effective against all foes,
but primarily against heavy units like Dismounted Knights. Units with the
Naptha Bomb, such as the Egyptian Naffatun, have this trait.

Bonus Fighting Cavalry: Unit gets an attack bonus against cavalry or +4 or +8,
making them very good for defending against cavalry charges. Units with this
trait are almost always spear/pikemen, who usually don't make good attackers
otherwise, being slow and having mediocre or bad offense/defense otherwise.
As such, most spear/pikemen are used to protect missile units from cavalry.

Can form Wedge: This special formation available to some cavalry form into a
triangular wedge, supposedly to allow them to break through infantry lines. I
have never found this to work too well, as it places a single man at the front
of the wedge and two more behind him... which, in my experience, leads to a
very weak charge. I've found normal charges to be far more effective.

Can do Schiltrom: This is not unlike a circular phalanx. Basically, the men
form up tightly in a circle, put their spears out, and try not to get killed.
Obviously, as an attack formation, it's useless, but it's useful for defending
a location from multiple sides - defending a city/castle square or choke points
are its best applications. It's also fairly useful for trying to hold out for
reinforcements or setting your cavalry up to charge enemy flanks, though normal
spear/pikemen formations are just fine for that too. You can, however, fully
expect to be shredded by missile units if you leave your spearmen unsupported.

Can deploy stakes: This limited ability is very useful. It allows your archers
to quite capably defend themselves from front assaults, which is very useful if
you're low on spearmen. Of course, the cavalry can easily flank you and your
stakes, so support from other units, distance, or the terrain is needed to
fully exploit this ability. It's particularly useful for defending rivers and
mountains, since flanking options are much more limited in these situations.

Can form Cantabrian Circle: I've never found this to be very useful. The idea
is not to surround the enemy, but to keep up a constant stream of fire rather
than alternating between swarms of arrows and breaks in your ranged assault.
Using this against the AI can make them think twice about advancing, but it's
a very reliable deterrent. I don't use this formation much, as it robs horse
archers of their precious mobility, spreads them out (exposing them to more
fire from enemy missile units), and makes them harder to control.

Missile Attack: This indicates the attack of the various missile weapons, such
as javelins, bullets, arrows, naptha bombs, or crossbow bolts. Artillery has
different values for anti-troop and anti-building attack (due to the
differences between trying to send a big rock through a 3 meter thick wall and
a few centimeters of metal and human). All missile attacks ignore the target's
defence skill, and some ignore 50% of their armor. Gunpowder weapons ignore
defence skill, shield defence bonuses, and 50% of armor. All missile units also
have a melee attack method, but only a few should bother with melee combat. The
rest should run away if at all possible.

Charge Bonus/Powerful Charge: The extra attack added to attacks this unit makes
when charging. This is only really relevant for cavalry, as most other units
have a small bonus for charging. Note that cavalry charges are incredibly

Combat Bonus in Woods/Snow/Woods and Snow: Quite simple - the unit gets a boost
in the woods/snow/both. I'm not sure if it's attack or defence, but defence
makes more logical sense - however, if follow the "bonus fighting cavalry"
pattern, then it would be an attack boost. There's no way to definitively test
this, but I'd welcome help from anyone who has read an official statement on
this or seen/done some very good testing of this trait. It may also indicate
where they can hide, but I doubt it, as I've never seen units hide in a field
of snow.

Can't Hide: Applies to artillery and your command officer's unit in battle. It
means that, no matter the cover, the enemy can still see you.

(Very) Long Range Missiles: Indicates the range of the unit's missiles. The
FAUST has more specific range listings.


Soldiers: The number of soldiers the unit will have (depends upon your unit

Experience: Ranges from 0-9, increased through taking an active role in battle,
being part of successful army of Catholics on Crusade or Muslims on Jihad bis
Saif (Jihad by the Sword - not to be confused with other forms of Jihad, some
of which are not recognized by the various Islamic groups). 1-3 experience, or
bronze chevrons, gives +1 to melee attack and defence skill. 4-6 results in
silver chevrons and +2 to melee attack and defence skill, while 7-9 endows the
unit with gold chevrons and +3 to melee attack and defence skill. Units can
also start with increased experience by being recruited in settlements with the
proper guilds or other buildings - some guilds also endow every unit of a
certain type with experience bonuses (very nice).

Attack: Obviously, this indicates how powerful the unit is. Terrain, opponents,
experience, upgrades, and the like can change this, but more attack is always a
good thing - your ultimate goal in Total War games is to kill everyone else,
after all. Melee attack and missile attack (for missile units) are seperate
values, but possess no special advantage in terms of power (missile attacks do
ignore defence skill bonuses, though).

Charge Bonus: As above, indicates how much more powerful the unit's attack is
on a charge.

Weapon Type: Crude, Light, Heavy, Missile, Artillery, Cannon, and Firearm are
your options here. I don't know of any true differences between Crude, Light,
and Heavy, other than the units themselves who use them. Their users do have
different tendencies, but weapon class and unit quality only correlate at this
point (as opposed to have a cause and effect relationship). The special traits
of the other weapon types have been explained several times (including right
below this section).

Defence: This is separated into three different things: Armor, Shield, and
Defence skill. These three parts of defence are used differently depending upon
the situation. Defence upgrades increase armor (the best type of defence).

Frontal Attacks are against the entire defence number (shield + skill + armor).

Side Attacks reduce the shield bonus by 50% (.5shield + skill + armor). Bear in
mind that attacking the side of a group is not always a good idea, as you end
up bottlenecking the forces (if this is your goal, further bear in mind that
the enemy can easily turn their forces).

Rear Attacks are against Armor only - a great target for cavalry charges.

Armor Piercing attacks ignore 50% of armor bonuses (shield + skill + .5armor).

Missile attacks (which can also be Armor piercing) ignore defence skill, so
non-AP missile attacks are (shield + armor).

Gunpower attack ignore defence skill, shield, and 50% of armor (.5 armor). Note
that gunpowder's armor reduction doesn't stack with Armor Piercing's armor

Hit Points: How many clean hits the a soldier in the unit can take before he
dies. Note that not all hits are "clean". Almost all units have 1 hit point. Of
note are generals and their bodyguards - the bodyguards have 2 hit points, and
a general can have well over 10 hit points (the Brutally Scarred Trait alone
gives a general +8 Hit Points, and the Healthy trait series adds more).

Cost: How much it costs to recruit the unit. Generals can reduce this cost.

Upkeep: How much it costs per turn to have this unit as part of your military.
Militia units can have 0 upkeep in cities where they were recruited or
retrained, which can be a great boost to your economy and military. You should
focus on archers/crossbowmen as your main free upkeep forces, as they're always
useful in a siege, and the only battles free upkeep units will ever face are
sieges anyway.

Sometimes, your units waiting in woods will ambush enemies. Ambushes, if
successful, are useful because the enemies are going to be in marching
formation, not battle formation (essentially a big line waiting to die). You
will have time to set up your forces, and can come in from the sides and really
smash them up. You'll want your cavalry and missile units to get the best
positions, since infantry will need a little time to reach the enemy - time
they could use to muster a capable defence. However, your missile and cavalry
units will leave the enemy with no more than 15 seconds to prepare, allowing
you to smash their lines and do some heavy damage to them - I managed to use an
ambush to take out a Mongol army.

   Medieval II TW  /---------------------------------------------------------o
   -------o--------\                   Ideas for Battle                      |
       (00B1b)      \--------------------------------------------------------o

Pre-Battle: There are plenty of ways to set up your units, depending upon what
role you're playing in the battle (attack, defender, besieger, besieged). Your
choice of tactics also depends upon the terrain (rivers, trees, and elevation
differences all change your strategy). Obviously, terrain is far less relevant
for a siege battle, so sieges will have their own section.

If you're the aggressor, set yourself up to attack. You'll want to be as close
to the enemy as possible. You can't be certain where the enemy will start the
battle, so just remember to support your units: Don't leave your missile units
exposed, and give your cavalry the best chance to make a successful charge
(which means don't force them to go uphill or into a fleeing enemy, as both of
those conditions will weaken or kill their charge's effectiveness). If you're
the defender, try to keep your units high up (especially missile units). This
will make it harder for enemies to charge you or hit you with their own missile
attacks. If you have some cavalry, split them away from your other forces so
they can more easily flank the enemy or hit their missile units.

Note that "Attacking" and "Defending" in the field aren't always clear cut.
While you generally wouldn't attack an army that is much stronger than you, you
sometimes don't have much choice. In addition, some instances where you are
technically on the defensive really call for aggression on your part. It all
depends upon what the enemy does and what units you have. Remember that you
can right click on the enemy leader's portrait to see exactly what forces he
has - a very useful ability.

If you're attacking a settlement, keep everyone but the siege weapons back, out
of the range of enemy archers and towers. Cavalry aren't as useful for siege
attacks, either, so keep that in mind (the close quarters basically strip them
of the ability to charge effectively). While siege weapons like catapults and
bombards do slow an army down, they do drastically reduce casualties, as they
can open a path into a settlements without putting themselves at a much risk,
and keeping everyone else totally out of harm's way. As the defender, your
pre-battle strategy depends upon what the enemy has. If they have ways to take
down your walls from a distance (cannons, catapults, etc), then don't put any
units on your walls - they'll just be targets. Instead, keep most units near
the side at risk and just be ready to defend whatever hole they punch in your
walls. Keep some units near your towers so that they'll be manned - they can
kill some of the attackers without putting your units at any risk when the
atackers try to flood in. If the enemy is using imrpovised sieging gear (like
battering rams), then put any and all missile units on the walls - you can
cause heavy casualties before the enemy even gets there. Also keep some strong
melee units on the walls as well in case their ladders or towers reach their,
as the enemies will only empty off those things in small numbers, and like the
Spartans at Thermopylae, you can use your greater one on one strength and a
bottleneck to cancel out their numbers.

During Battle:

One of my favorite ways to quickly kill enemies (spearmen in particular) is
what I call the "Suppress and Flank" tactic. First, engage enemy infantry 
(charges against other cavalry aren't as effective) with your own infantry,
while bringing your cavalry around to the enemy's flanks. Once your cavalry are
in the proper position, double click to make them charge into the target's
flank, which will cause heavy casualties (with minimal damage to your own
cavalry). Be careful about doing this in areas with severe elevation changes,
lots of trees, or lots of rocks, as it can ruin the cavalry's flanking and
subsequent charging. You can also flank with missile units, but this is not
as effective, as missile infantry will take longer to get into position, and
you risk firing on your own units.

If the AI gets you with "Suppress and Flank" (I'm not sure if they're capable
of even this basic tactic), you can counter it in two ways: Stop their
suppression or stop their flanking. You can stop their suppression with a
flanking charge of your own (I think this would be called out-flanking), or by
meeting their flanking forces with your own cavalry. You can also use a tactic
that I call "Shock and Awe", whereby you use scare tactics to pre-emptively
break the enemy's morale (this worked better in Rome, where there were more
frightening/destructive units, such as elephants and berserkers, but elephants
are technically still around, and artillery/guns are scary in their own right).
This tactic relies on your units' ability to break the enemy - so have some
guns or cavalry if you want to try it. Missile units can also be used to break
up suppressors/flankers, allowing your infantry to destroy their suppressors or
withstand their flankers.

Try to keep your missile units from hitting your own units. If this requires
only shooting at targets your infantry aren't engaging in melee, then so be it.
Another tactic is to flank the enemy forces and shoot them in the sides or in
the back. Missile already ignore defence skill, so attacking from the sides
will be quite effective (especially since missile units can attack from the
sides of an enemy without much bottlenecking).

If you're attacking a settlement, the first order of business is getting past
the walls. If you have cannons (even the basic Bombard), this should be fairly
simple, as you can create several holes in their defences that the enemy can't
adequately defend. If you have higher level cannons (Basilisks, Culverins,
"Cannons", or the Monster Bombard), then focus on hitting sections of the walls
with troops on them - when the wall collapses (Basilisks and Monster Bombards
can do this in one or two barrages), all units on the section that collapses
will die instantly, along with anyone unfortunate enough to be left in the
small areas that are left standing.

If you're defending, and notice that your opponent doesn't have much for siege
weapons (like catapults) or siege tools (like ladders), then consider sending
some units out to disable their ability to take down your walls. If your walls
are unbreached and the enemy has no way to get in, then all you have to do is
get every living unit back within the settlement and you'll win. Also note that
before v1.2, the AI was terrible at attacking settlements - please, keep your
game patched. The AI is weak enough as it is.

You don't need to kill every enemy to win - as long as all enemy groups are
dead or routing, you win. Once you get a message asking if you would like to
continue the battle to hunt down routing enemies, you've won - the enemies will
not stop running until they escape. At this point, your task is to hunt them
down like the worthless dogs they are and take them prisoner. You won't kill
anyone at this point - all enemies you can get are taken as prisoners of war.
Enemies generally rout when the odds facing them seem insurmountable - some
units are more courageous than others. For example, your general's personal
bodyguards, who have sworn their lives to him, rarely flee unless surrounded
by odds of about 9 to 1 or worse (they're okay with charging into enemy lines
and repeatedly breaking off to do it again - only when they are trapped do they
start to get even a little worried), while peasants who were more or less
kidnapped and forced to fight against their will are likely to start routing
before a charge has even hit them.

After battle

The only thing to do after battle (that pertains to this section) is to deal
with the issue of prisoners. Prisoners can be captured in battle, primarily by
killing routing enemies. You can then do one of three things with them: Ransom
them; the game decides a price based on the number and recruitment cost of the
prisoners, and the other faction decides whether to pay the price or not - if
they do, they get those units back, if they don't those units die. Factions
can not pay more money than they have, so keep that in mind. Ransoming units
is considered to "wash one's hands" of the decision - a general who ransoms his
prisoners is neither noble nor evil, just practical. If you release your
prisoners, then the enemy gets them back for free. This is supposed to increase
a general's chivalry, but I never do it - after all, I'm trying to kill these
people, so why make my own job harder? The last option, execution, simply
butchers your enemies, and increases a general's dread. If you have a lot of
prisoners and can't afford to risk the enemy getting them back on ransom, then
just execute them. It also has the always satisfying sound of metal cutting
through human flesh. Constant execution also seems to hurt your faction's
reputation... but who cares? It matters not what other factions think of you if
there aren't any other factions!

   Medieval II TW  /---------------------------------------------------------o
   -------o--------\                        Controls                         |
       (00B1c)      \--------------------------------------------------------o

To move your units, right click on your intended destination. To make
them run using the mouse, double click. To make your units attack, click on
their target; double clicking will make them charge. Alt + Right click will
make units use their other weapon if the have one (Sword/Lance, Melee/Missile).

To select a unit, left click on one of its members, its flag, or its unit card.
Ctrl + Left click will add/remove a unit to/from your selection, shift + left
click will select all units from your present selection to the unit you click
on (unit cards only).

On the bottom of the battle screen, one can plainly see the control bar. I will
cover it from left to right.

The mini-map: Indicates the general terrain and unit locations. Your units are
green, AI-allies are blue, enemies are red. Next to it are a plus sign and a
minus sign button - these zoom the minimap in and out.

Speed Controls and Ratio Bar: On top of this section is the ratio bar - it
gives a rough estimate of how the battle is going; mousing over it will show
how many soldiers (as a percentage) have died for each side. Below this, we
have the timer. If you haven't set battles to no time limits, it will show how
much time is left in the battle. Below that, we have two triangular plus and
minus buttons. These slow down and speed up the battle. The slowest is speed 0,
which is also paused. Standard speed is 1, follow by double and then sextuple
speed. Moving the camera at x2 or x6 speed will reduce it back to x1 until you
stop moving the camera. Below these buttons is the pause/play button, which
does exactly that - pauses the game, and unpauses it when clicked again. You
can also press the "p" key to pause/unpause the game, which I find more useful.

Right of these buttons, we have the unit cards. In addition to clicking on your
units on the battle field, you can select your units by clicking these, as I
explain above.

Next, we have the control wheel (Clockwise From Top):

*Top - Halt - Causes unit(s) to stop whatever they're doing.

*1 o'clock - Flee - Causes the unit to leave the battlefield. Useful for
cutting your losses. This organized retreat order can be rescinded.

*3 o'clock - Formation - Sets the unit(s)' formation. Tight is good for melee
combat, missile units should stay with loose. Any unit under missile fire
should go to loose formation.

*5 o'clock - Run - Causes the unit to run. This is more reliable than double
clicking. Running will cause an attacking unit to charge.

*6 o'clock - Guard Area - The unit will stay in the spot they are when this is
clicked and the surrounding area. They will attack any enemies who enter their

*8 o'clock - Skirmish Mode - Missile Units with this enabled (it is so by
default) will begin to run away if units near them. Turn this off and use Alt
Click to force them into melee, or to keep them from running away from threats,
which does cause them to stop firing (mounted units will not stop firing when
moving, however).

*9 o'clock - Fire At Will - This mode, enabled by default (except for
artillery), will cause missile units (except artillery) to fire at whatever
units are in their range. Since they can just as easily kill your own men as
they can the enemy, I usually turn this off so I don't kill my own men for no

*11 o'clock - Special Ability - This varies from unit to unit, some have none,
all generals have Rally, which can stop units from fleeing. Captain units of
units without a special ability will also have Rally. All other special
abilities will be explicitly stated in the unit card, and are explained above.

To right of the control wheel, at the bottom, we have the prisoner count. This
shows how many enemies you have taken prisoner.

To the right of that, we have the last three buttons. The top button is the
group formation button - multiple units can be put into several formations
with this button. Below that is the group units button. Grouping your units
puts them to the far right of the units card bar, and makes a Roman Numeral'd
tab in the unit card bar that will select all the grouped units. This is useful
for quickly concentrating attacks on a single enemy/building. Lastly, below
that button, we have the AI control/assist button. I wouldn't use this, as you
can easily control all your units in small battles, and pause larger battles to
control your armies. Also, the AI in Medieval II isn't particularly bright.

   Medieval II TW  /---------------------------------------------------------o
   -------o--------\                    Time Mechanics                       |
       (000B2)      \--------------------------------------------------------o

Each turn in Medieval II is two years. Seasons alternate by turns (Summer, then
winter, then back to summer, and so on). However, characters only age by six
months for each turn, which gets out of hand very quickly - I've seen women
outlive their husbands by over a century. If your king is first crowned at 20
years old, but doesn't die until he is 60, then he will have ended up ruling
your kingdom for 160 years - for comparison, Louis XIV reigned for 54 years
(de facto - he was crowned at age 5 but did not actually rule until age 23),
and Pepi II Neferkare of Egypt was considered Pharoah for 94 years.

Your soldiers, however, are even more remarkable, being immune to the effects
of time entirely - of course, one can easily imagine that they're just replaced
by younger men (and it's just convenient to not have your armies dying of old

   Medieval II TW  /---------------------------------------------------------o
   -------o--------\                      Agent Management                   |
       (000B3)      \--------------------------------------------------------o

Note that this section is focuses more on using your agents than on developing
them - see Salisian's FAQ for a more in-depth examination of traits, what they
do, and how to get them.

With the exception of princesses, agents live to be 60-65, barring their death
at the hands of assassins. At some point, princesses pass childbearing age and
are no longer useful (and will likely get married before that, and stop being
active agents).

This section will cover ways to improve your various agents, including your
Princesses, as they are only parts of the family in name - functionally, they
are agents. Making use of your spies, assassins, and merchants will also be
covered here, as their tasks are fairly simple.

Overview: Agents are used to support your overall goal of conquest. They're
useful for making money (merchants, diplomats), removing people (assassins),
or avoiding an unwanted war (diplomats, spies, assassins). All agents have at
least one inherent trait indicating their natural skill. These traits give them
+1, +2, or +3 to their skill, and can never be changed. Like generals, they can
also gain other traits (albeit far fewer traits) to augment their skills, and
can have their own retinue of gear and people.

Diplomats: More Influence means a diplomat is more likely to succeed in any
negotiation (though even a 10 influence diplomat couldn't convince a superpower
to become a microkingdom's vassal, obviously). The full functions of diplomats
will be explained in the diplomacy section.

Any town with a Town Hall can recruit diplomats.

Successful diplomatic engagements will give your diplomats more
Influence, making subsequent negotiations more likely to succeed. Trading
Rights and Map Information are two simple ways to increase a diplomat's skill,
as the AI agrees to those readily. Bribery, Peace Talks, Alliances, and the
rest of the diplomatic sphere are best left to your more experienced diplomats,
as success is the goal with those, not training. Another way to boost your
diplomats' skill is to send them off to far away places - preferably ones that
do not share your religion. In any distant locale, they will gain the
Bilinigual/Multilingual/Translator traits (+1/+2/+3), and probably the Foreign
Dignitary retinue. In places that do not share your religion (or places without
a religion that has a significant majority - it's hard to definitively say),
they can also gain religious tolerance traits, which will also have a +1/+2/+3
increase pattern. Conversely, failed negotiations and staying a religiously
homogeneous place can negatively impact their influence. I would make a habit
of keeping plenty of diplomats on hand to negotiate map exchanges and peace
treaties - keeping one near Rome (or wherever the Papacy is) is also a good
idea. There is no guild for diplomats.

Priests/Imams: More pious priests/imams are more likely to denounce heretics,
and convert regions more quickly. These are their functions (and, like all
agents, they remove a small ring of fog of war in their area).

Any settlement with its own religious structure, even the most basic one, can
recruit a Priest or Imam - Small Churches, Small Chapels, or Masjids are all
you need.

The basic way to increase piety is to denounce heretics/witches (Burn Her!)
and convert people to their religion. You should be doing this anyway, so your
religious agents won't need any babying - just keep your less pious or more
unorthodox priests/imams away from pious heretics, as they themselves may fall
to heresy. Witches do not seem to convert your agents to heresy, but they do
convert your people to heresy and can have negative impacts on your generals,
and I've seen it happen many times - and the results are very, very bad.
Religion will be further covered in its own section. Recruiting a lot of
religious agents from one place can prompt a Theologian's Guild, which will
help make your religious agents more pious and less vulnerable to heresy.
Cities with Cathedrals or Huge Cathedrals can also recruit Bishops, who have
a +1 bonus to piety over regular priests. A city with a Huge Cathedral and a
Theologian's Guild HQ will basically allow you to control the Papacy and
College of Cardinals if you're Catholic, as you're more or less guaranteed
to have the most pious priests/bishops. Furthermore, sending your priests
or imams out to new lands to convert other religions can get them missionary
and anti-heretic traits (if there is heresy in the region), which can
increase piety by as much as +6.

Removing heretics and witches is very important - do it as soon as possible
(assassins can also do this), as they'll only cause problems. You should also
try to convert your settlements to your religion before you conquer them - it
will make your subsequent rule of them easier.

Spies: Spies with more subterfuge are more likely to succeed, and more able to
cause discontent amongst other settlements. A spy's main line of traits that
increases subterfuge also increases their line of sight. Generals can have
traits that increase their anti-spy capabilities, and larger concentrations of
troops seems to lower a spy's success chances as well. Spies provide you with
a large ring of sight in their area, provide more detailed info about other
factions' units in their line of sight, can infiltrate settlements to cause
discontent or open the gates for you. If a spy fails, he dies.

Any town with a Brothel/Shisha Bar can recruit spies.

Spies gain subterfuge by being recruited in cities with Thieve's Guilds (or in
empires with Master/HQ guilds, but the city itself provides a greater bonus).
Spies can also gain subterfuge through successful spying missions - as of v1.2,
their first mission is usually difficult, but often gives them +2 subterfuge,
allowing them to handle real missions. Make your first mission an easy one,
like spying on a group of brigands or a small force with only a captain. I've
found that odds below 65% usually result in death. However, if a spy is able
to infiltrate a city or army, they will be able to tell you just about anything
about them - sometimes they don't get everything about a character's traits,
but they do tell you said character's Command, Charm, Influence, and the like.
The longer a spy stays in an enemy city, the more discontent they cause - very
useful for destabilizing enemy economies/empires. Combined with assassins,
your spies can potentially cause a full blown civil revolt in a city. This can
open it up to your armies without having to declare war. Spies can also be used
to carry plagues from place to place (though, aside from The Black Death,
plagues aren't nearly as common in Medieval II as in Rome, and there is no need
at all to spread The Black Death - it does that just fine on its own).

Most armies should consider carrying spies with them, as they'll provide vital
intelligence, and can open gates for you, speeding up the conquest process.
Using spies to push settlements to revolt is always useful, as Rebels are much
less of a threat than other factions (though sometimes a small faction garrison
can be replaced by a massive rebel garrison, but rebel garrisons are rarely of
much use).

Assassins: Assassins with more subterfuge are more likely to kill their targets
or successfully sabotage buildings. Obviously, an assassin kills people - any
character aside from an admiral or your own characters can be targeted by an
assassin. Assassins can also sabotage buildings, removing their benefits from
the settlement. An assassin has three possible outcomes for their missions:
success, failure, and death. Success results in death/destruction, and no one
knows you did it. Failure does not kill/destroy, but no one knows you ordered
the failed mission. Death results in a failed mission, the loss of your
assassin, and the target knows your faction ordered the mission.

Any town with an Inn/Shisha Den can recruit assassins.

Assassins can gain more subterfuge through successful kills, being recruited in
cities with Assassin's/Hashashim's guilds, and sometimes through random retinue
expansion (most commonly, the "Prototype Hangun" does this). Assassins are far
more difficult to build up than any other agent, as it is generally isn't a
simple task to blow up a church or kill royalty. Note that sabotage missions
will only grant traits and retinue that boost sabotage odds, and that assassins
can not tell what buildings are in a settlement for some insane reason - spies
can rectify this situation, though. As one would expect, sabotage missions are
much easier to carry out than assassination missions. However, buildings can be
rebuilt - once a man has taken a bolt through the lung, there's no saving him.
Be careful using assassins, however - if you fail to take out your target, they
become more wary of assassins, and thus even harder to kill. Don't send a 
rookie assassin to kill the King - let him cut his teeth on captains (bandits
in particular, since death has no ramifications other than losing your
assassin - and, well, who cares about them - they obviously weren't any good!).

Once you're done training an assassin, you can put them to use. A faction can
actually be eliminated if it loses all of its family members, but this rarely
if ever happens (I've only been able to make it happen twice - and both of
those times were in Rome: Total War - Barbarian Invasion). Still, removing
family members weakens a faction and its armies. Killing of diplomats can hurt
an opponent's ability to gather allies or declare ceasefires with other
factions (and, as World War II showed us, dividing your enemy's forces is a
very useful tactic). Killing princesses can weaken their family tree and reduce
their diplomatic abilities. Killing merchants weakens their economy, while
killing priests/imams/heretics/witches ensures you faction's religion will
remain dominant or have a chance to become dominant. Killing Cardinals can open
up seats in the College of Cardinals or reduce a faction's favor with Pope, and
hamper their ability to pick a Pope who favors them/hates you. Killing the Pope
results in an all new election, which can drastically change your relationship
with the Papacy if the new Pope is your own man or an ally's man. And, if you
can't get to the Pope because he's paranoid/well guarded, and have been
excommunicated, he will send Inquisitors to your lands who will start
denouncing (essentially killing) your priests and family members. Assassins are
the only way to remove these murderers short of reconciliation with the Pope.
Thanks to spartan4eva for this reminder/tip. Sabotaging buildings can hurt
public order, finances, or military production means.

Merchants: More Finance means they generate more money. Also, merchants have 0
upkeep. Merchants trade to generate more money for you.

Merchants increase their Finance by standing on a resource (causing them to
trade it and generate income), surviving takeover attempts from opposing
merchants, and successfully taking over other merchants. There is also a
Merchants' guild. Any city with a Grain Exchange can recruit merchants. The
best resources to trade are Gold, Ivory (Gold is in many places, particularly
the New World and Southern Africa - Southern Africa alone has Ivory), Tobacco,
Chocolate (both from the New World), and Silk (Near/Middle East). However,
any resource can generate plenty of income - the only way to figure out how
much is to select a merchant and mouse over the resource. I've never found
merchants to be of much use until you reach the "Southern" African (well, it's
the Southernmost part of the map) Ivory/Gold and New World resources.

Princesses: Princesses have Charm. In negotiation, this is like influence for
Diplomats. In marriage proposals, it is like Subterfuge for Assassins (murder
and marriage aren't too much unlike eachother, either - one ends your life, and
the other is a crime).

Princesses are your royal daughters - only some of your family's daughters are
agents, however. Reader Kirk tells me, and I seem to agree, that only daughters
of the faction leader, faction heir, or former faction leader. No matter how it
is, princesses are born, not recruited, and there's obviously no guild for
them. They can increase their Charm through successful negotiations and
retinue expansion, but most often they get the irritating "Secret Lover" who
gives -1 Charm. Princesses can marry foreign generals, their own cousins
(useful for giving your own good men good wives to help produce good sons) or
suitors will appear via an info card. If your princess has a trait like
"Intelligent" or "Attractive," then the man they marry will get traits relating
to their wife (Intelligent increases income in settlements the man manages,
Attractive increases his chances of having children). You can also marry your
Prince/King to foreign princesses to make an alliance and gain that woman as a
wife - her traits can also produce traits in the man. Princesses are
interesting characters in theory, but in practice they're not quite so. Still,
they can at least serve as diplomats, and steal away good men for your family,
or give some useful traits to other men that propose to them/your own men.
Princesses "come of age" at 16, though normally there is no notice of this, so
you may not notice them for a few years. 

   Medieval II TW  /---------------------------------------------------------o
   -------o--------\          Managing Your Settlements and Empire           |
       (000B4)      \--------------------------------------------------------o

Your settlements serve several purposes: Produce your soldiers/agents, produce
money to pay for soldiers/agents/diplomacy, and being part of your empire (by
which I mean you need a certain number of them to reach the campaign goals).
Also, when you conquer a settlement, don't exterminate it... ever. Sacking
results in more money, and killing off taxpayers is usually a good way to shoot
yourself in the foot.

Settlements have several attributes:

Public Order - Indicates how orderly the people are. <80% is a problem, as the
people are quite likely the revolt, which can kill soldiers, citizens, and
damage buildings, or even result in a full blown revolt (you lose control of
the settlement). However, anything over 90% is in no immediate danger, and
anything over 110% isn't likely to be trouble soon (barring excommunication or
the death of a general with high chivalry governing the place).

The easiest way to increase public order is to lower taxes (this will also give
population growth a +.5% boost for each increment it is lowered, though from
very high to high and high to normal, it's actually removing a penalty). The
lower taxes will do much to placate the masses (+30%), and if your population
growth rate is high enough, the extra increase from a Low Tax Rate will give
public order a +5% boost from "Population Boom".

Which brings me to Population Boom. Cities with rapidly growing populations
(seems to be +4% or higher, but that's not definite) have an increase to public
order from this boom. Farming upgrades, Town Hall upgrades, low taxes, and
high chivalry generals are the best ways to increase Population Boom. The last
three also increase public order on their own.

The best way to hurt public order is to increase taxes. Never do it. Another
good way to hurt public order is to have other religions in your lands. 1-8% of
another religion won't make much difference (unless it's heresy - more on that
later), but significant minorities or even majorities will cause serious damage
to public order. Convert them quickly using priests and at least a basic
religious structure.

Income: How much money the city is making. You can increase this by reducing
corruption (generals seem to help with this), preventing devastation (which is
caused by enemy armies being your lands), buildings ports/merchant ports,
building markets, building farming upgrades, establishing trade deals with
other factions, increasing the population, and putting an effective governor
in place.

Population: How many people live in the settlement. More people means more
money, but it's harder to keep the growth rate and public order up due to
squalor. Still, more is better.

Growth Rate: How quickly the population is growing. The best ways to increase
this are chivalrous governors, increasing public health, and building farming
upgrades. Trade and low taxes can also have a small impact, but the first three
can add over +10% to the growth rate, while trade and taxes amount to, perhaps,
+1%. Buildings like Brothels or the Islamic equivalent seem to help, as well.

Building Strategy (Cities): The most important buildings here are the Town Hall
series, the Port/Merchant Port series, and the Barracks series. If the city is
landlocked, then you can focus on improving roads, and one of the following:
Siege Weapons & Cannons, Markets, or Farms. Don't bother with Smiths at cities,
as their only good units won't really need armor. Above all, improve the walls
as soon as possible (but that's mandatory, not strategic). If the city is
mostly another religion, put more importance into religious structures, but
otherwise they're not too useful unless you're at the Huge Cathedral. 

The purpose of focusing on the Town Hall, Ports, and Barracks is to help keep
order, income, military readiness, and growth up. The Town Hall does all of the
health increases (+2.5% to population growth), the Barracks add some order and
allow the recruitment of gunners (but only at the two or three highest levels),
and the ports allow you to build a navy and helps to increase income and growth

Building Strategy (Castles): Your top priority is upgrading the Castle itself.
This will allow you to recruit almost all of your good melee infantry/cavalry
(units like the mighty French Lancer require stables, though), and these units
are good enough for most, probably all, situations (Lancers are a little better
than Chivalric Knights, but not by much). Your next priority is smiths, and
trying to get a Swordsmiths' Guild - I find that recruiting lots of melee
infantry seems to increase your odds of getting one. You don't need an HQ, just
a Master's Guild - there is no explicitly stated difference, and I've never
heard of any differences (if you know of any, do tell). Note that getting a
Swordsmiths' guild isn't guaranteed, but it's still worth trying to get one at
your Citadel (which will probably recruit and retrain many of your castle-based
units). As the game goes on, you'll obviously have more than one Citadel, so
you needn't centralize the Swordsmiths' operation, nor should you - doing so
would waste precious time. 

Castles are also the only place most factions can get missile units, so you
should also consider adding range upgrades. However, once gunpowder is
developed, your cities can recruit gunners, who can replace missile units for
most factions (Not the Byzantines, though). So, as time goes on, consider
changing some of your less developed castles to cities - cities make more money
and can still recruit good units. Many factions can also recruit good melee
infantry from high-level city barracks - Egypt actually gets their best from
these buildings, and Spain can get units that are on par with Knights.

Forts and Watchtowers: These don't really fit in anywhere better than here, so
here they are. Your family members can build forts anywhere they will fit. They
act like a wooden pallisade around your general and his troops. They can be
besieged, but it's unlikely that will happen. Most often, I use them to keep
some bad governors in a semi-safe location (enemies can't get at them on the
same turn they see them without siege weapons) to deal with bandits that may
appear. Watchtowers can be built anywhere in your lands, and provide a large
line of sight in the surrounding area (close to that of a spy). They can not
be destroyed, but any enemy who takes the settlement will gain control of all
watchtowers in the province. Towers cost 200 gold, and forts cost 500 gold.
They can each be built only by generals, using the same button that you would
use to reach a settlement's construction menu.

Overall Strategy: Specialize. Not ever settlement needs to be able to recruit
gunners, cannons, Lancers, and so on. Some cities should focus on being money
makers (so replace the Barracks suggestion with mines/markets/roads). Some
castles can focus on infantry, some on cavalry, and some on missile units. A
few settlements (cities or castles) can focus on siege weapons and cannons. You
won't need as many of those, so don't put their buildings everywhere. You'll
never have enough time to building every building in even a single city (aside
from the possible exceptions of Constantinople, London, Paris, and Cairo), so
don't waste your resources trying to do so. Also, remember the words of... I
don't recall, but it's in the game (it was Sun Tzu or Machiavelli)... "It is
better to be present with ten men than absent with ten thousand" - by which I
mean keep your transportation networks built up. Roads and ports will speed up
your armies and economy, so there's little reason not to build them up.

Lastly, a note about Capital placement: Keep your capital as centrally located
as possible. It can be moved by opening up the settlement summary scrolls (the
scrolls that shows how income, order, and growth are determined, breaking each
factor down) and clicking on the proper button on the bottom. However, if you
have very loyal settlements on one side, and discontent settlements on another,
then move your capital towards the more disobedient ones (not too far though,
or you'll end up losing your once loyal, and like more productive, lands). If
your empire covers most of the game's map, the Rome is probably the best choice
for your capital, being basically the center of the World (of Medieval II).

   Medieval II TW  /---------------------------------------------------------o
   -------o--------\               Managing Your Royal Family                |
       (000B5)      \--------------------------------------------------------o

Note that this section covers using and managing your family. See Salisian's
FAQ for a more in-depth examination of traits, what they do, and how to get

Princesses have already been covered. This section focuses on your men.

Unless killed in battle or assassinated, you can expect your men to live to the
ages of 60-65.

Your men can act as generals, warriors, and governors. The general/warrior will
require a different skill set than the governor. Unfortunately, it's not very
easy to control your family's skills/traits/retinue. There are some measures
you can take, but sometimes it just comes down to luck of the draw.

A governor's most important trait is Chivalry. Each "mask" of chivalry endows
a city he governs with +.5% population growth and +5% public order (the extra
population growth can also boost public order further). Chivalry can be gained
by releasing prisoners, successfully undertaking Crusades/Jihads, and ruling
cities (this only seems to happen if their already chivalrous). Sons of very
chivalrous fathers can get chivalry bonuses from having chivalrous fathers.
Other strategies for boosting chivalry would be appreciated.

Other good traits for governors, such as Farming Knowledge, Active Builder,
Skilled Beauracrat, and tax/trade efficienies can not be trained. However, when
selecting someone to govern your cities, consider these inherent traits much
more heavily than what you can do to train them - negative traits are bound to
get worse. Ideally, anyone fit to be a governor should be governing a city -
"fit to be a governor" means they don't lower income, don't severely lower
public order, and don't increase building prices/recruitment costs. Any trait
that increases squalor will probably preclude a man from being governor. Any
trait that lowers squalor will usually mean he'd make a good governor. Don't
let anyone who is fit to be a governor languish - a man with no traits that
impact his aptitude for being governor is still better than no governor at all.

Generals, on the other hand, will probably favor Dread. I find Dread more
useful in battle, and much easier to build than chivalry. Just have your
general kill lots of enemies in battle, and execute anyone unlucky enough to
end up his prisoner. If this man eventually becomes King, his scars and his
reputation for brutality will boost his authority. While Dread can keep public
order, it does not increase population growth - and making a Dreaded man a
governor is waste of his skills.

Marrying your Faction Heir/Leader to a high-charm foreign princess generally
results in her giving him some positive traits, while low-charm princesses
can sometimes hurt his traits. If you're not certain what to make of a certain
lady, spy on her (in Medieval II, not reality - that's a felony).

Your Faction Leader and Faction Heir are the two most important people in your
faction, obviously. As such, they have the largets groups of bodyguards, making
them ideal for command. Being generals also gives them the chance to build up
Authority through dreaded acts like executing prisoners and sending out spies
and assassins (Faction Leader only). When the Heir becomes the leader, he will
obviously need Authority. He'll get +3 just from being Leader, but I usually
try to get 5+ Authority on my Faction Leader. If he's hopeless, I will not
hesitate to send him off to die in a hopeless battle or at sea. The same goes
for your Faction Heir - since you can't pick your Heir in Medieval II, the only
way to remove an inept one is death. Of course, don't hesitate to play their
suicidal battle yourself. You can make use of their final struggle to inflict
heavy casualties on your enemies, and perhaps even win... although victory, in
this situation, is hollow unless the man dies. Note that after the battle in
which he dies, a general's bodyguards disappear, likely because bodyguards who
let their charge die aren't going to be seen as very good bodyguards. Lastly,
if there's a family member is so inept that he is fit neither to govern nor
lead, send him off to die too. No need to have him fouling up your gene pool
(his kids may have a shot at the throne, and they'll usually be as inept as he

   Medieval II TW  /---------------------------------------------------------o
   -------o--------\                  Managing Your Armies                   |
       (000B6)      \--------------------------------------------------------o

A complete army can take on almost any situation - horse archers, a horde of
gunners, pikemen, knights, sieges... basically anything but The Mongols or
Timurids (since they're special cases). As such, a complete army is a diverse
army. While 20 units of Cossack Musketeers may seem like a good idea (and, if
managed properly, it could work quite well), all that firepower is going to be
at great risk against fast cavalry (although the AI isn't too dangerous). So,
how does one build an army capable of dealing with most threats?

The first part is a getting a general - the more command and dread/chivalry,
the better. I prefer dread myself, as I'm quite confident that it makes foes
more likely to flee (which, conversely, would make chivalry give your own units
more morale, which isn't nearly as useful). Of course, there are other traits
to consider - how many bodyguards the general has (less important in a large
army), how he impacts your soldiers' morale in other ways (certain traits
increase or decrease morale for "all units"), how much loyalty he has, and how
much HP he has.

In a smaller army, the general is going to be more important - if he is your
only heavy cavalry, then him having plenty of bodyguards is good. The easiest
way to field a general with a good number of guards is to use your prince/heir.
I'd advise against using the faction leader except in large armies, as his
death can, at times, shatter an entire faction (See: Napoleon Bonaparte,
Genghis Khan). Also, a King's Ransom is, at least, 10,000 florins (yes, that is
as much as a Huge Cathedral).

In an army, how the general impacts morale is very important. Dread, Chivalry,
Command, and other traits all impact morale, in their own ways. Once a unit
begins routing, it's basically all over for them, so you'll want a leader who
can keep that from even happening. All traits explicitly state all their
effects on morale (and everything else), and it's not too easy to control how
your generals gain/lose stats.

As long as you have a general with 3+ Loyalty and a King with 4+ Authority,
you should never have to worry about betrayal - I've never encountered a family
member betrayal in my playing time, and I've had this game since its release.

Lastly, don't use generals that have traits like Feeling Poorly which lower
their HP - the worst kind of general is a dead one. A general with traits like
Brutally Scarred (+8 HP) is always useful, but hardly required. You can easily
acquired the Scarred series of traits by having your general engage in actual
combat - it doesn't need to pose any real threat to him (and, indeed, unless
outnumbered, there's pretty much nothing that can provide a consistent threat
to a general).

Once you've got a general (only a major concern for large armies that aim to
conquer your enemies, not those that are fighting off bandits or small enemy
groups), it's time to get the rest of your army.

You'll almost always want some missile troops - how many depends upon what your
faction has to offer. English armies, for example, should always have plenty of
archers, as English longbowmen are some of the best archers in the game. Late
game French armies should also have Aventuriers/Scots Guard/Arquebusiers. On
the other hand, factions like Denmark shouldn't be so concerned about missile
units until gunpowder is developed. However, any good army should have a few
missile units (2-3 for factions like Denmark, 7-9 for factions like England).
Any faction with musketeers (Cossack Musketeers for Russia are even better)
should use them as much as possible, as they have great range and power. Don't
bother with Hand Gunners, though - their range is terrible.

Of course, those missile units aren't going to protect themselves (aside from
a few of the best units, like French Aventuriers or Scots Guard). Their
greatest threat is from cavalry units, who they can neither outrun nor cause
severe damage to during the opponents rush towards them. The cheapest and most
effective way to defend against cavalry is to use spearmen, who can be
recruited from any faction's cities with some basic barracks upgrades (which
you should do in most cities) for a low price. These men will also be useful
for using battering rams in sieges and supporting your cavalry. Pikemen can
also fill this role, as can Dismounted Knights to a lesser extent. The Russians
and Byzantines have units equivalent to Dismounted Knights (Dismounted Druzinha
and Latinkon), but the Turks and Egyptians do not (The Moors have Urban Militia
and Dismounted Christian Guards - both fine units).

While strong infantry and missile units can support eachother defensively, they
can't provide you with the greatest offensive force possible (and, again, the
idea of this game is conquest). Only cavalry can provide you with the most
devastating offensive force of the game until the proliferation of gunpowder
(which happens long after its 1290 introduction). Powerful cavalry charges are
the key to my offense, and, if used properly, can overcome seemingly hopeless
odds. So, you'll want to include some cavalry in your army. With the exception
of Sicily and Poland, every Catholic faction can recruit the "Feudal Knights"
and "Mailed Knights" units at any decently developed Castle. These are your
basic, bread and butter cavalry - you'll never really need more than them. In
addition, Sicily has the "Norman Knights" unit, which is a little more costly
to recruit, but but better than the "Feudal Knights" unit and has the same
maintenance cost. Poland has Hussars, Polish Knights, and Polish Retainers, who
do the same job as Feudal/Mailed Knights. Russia has Druzinha, who have +1 base
attack, -1 charge attack, and -1 defense compared to Feudal Knights. There's
not much difference, so Druzinha are your bread and butter cavalry for Russia.
The Byzantine Latinkon and Kataphractoi are the Byzantines' normal cavalry,
while the Turks use Sipahi Lancers, the Egyptians use Mamluks/Royal Mamluks,
and the Moors use Christian Guard, Granadine Lancers, or Tuareg Camel Spearmen.
The Mongols and Timurids have Heavy Lancers, and the Aztecs have nothing - the
horse is not indigeneous to the Americas, after all.

Also, you'll probably want a spy or two, and maybe some priests/imams if you're
going into a different religion's lands.

If you plan to conquer several settlements with your army, you may consider
some artillery. The main advantage of early artillery (catapults, ballistas,
and the trebuchet) is that you can assault a settlement before reinforcements
have a chance to arrive and muck things up for you. The problem is that having
artillery in your army makes it move more slowly, which sort of defeats their
purpose of speeding up conquest. If you wish to avoid a bloody battle with
garrisoned troops, don't immediately assault them - let some of them starve to
death (it happens) so that your job gets easier. If you have a lot of cavalry
in your sieging army, and the enemy forces have plenty of spearmen, you may
consider maintaing the siege to eventually win by default, or draw them out as
they try to break the siege themselves.

Next, your navy: Sadly, you can not do naval battles (If the next new Total
War game doesn't have live naval battles, we'll storm CA's HQ and make them add
them). So, you can't fully control how your naval fortunes go. However, if you
have the superior force, then you'll win most of the time. However, as per
usual, the simulation option results in an unecessarily high number of your men
dying, so you'll need to retrain navies often. While naval dominance is usually
the key to any war where oceans/seas are relevant, it's not terribly important
in Total War. As long as you can defend your ports and transport your soldiers,
your navy is strong enough. Due to the turn based nature of the campaign in TW,
you don't have to worry about your navies being intercepted, even if you have
a single small ship and the enemy's navy puts 19th century Britain to shame.

Lastly, a note on retraining: Units can be upgraded anywhere with the proper
facilities (a high enough level smith, a Swordsmiths' guild), but only their
attributes will increase - they will not regain lost men. Only settlements that
can recruit that specific unit and have enough of that unit available (for
example, a Templar Knights Minor Chapter House allows for a max of 4 untis of
Templar Knights - they are not replenished instantly) can retrain units. In
spite of these fairly steep requirements for retraining, it's often worth it.
Not only does it restore even a single man to a full group of 16, 32, 48, 60,
or whatever (depends upon your Unit Scale settings), it maintains (or upgrades)
their experience, weapon, and armor bonuses. So, what was once a single Feudal
Knight with full experience, armor, and weapon upgrades can become 48 Feudal
Knights with full experience, armor, and weapon upgrades after one round of
retraining (17 Offence, 25 Defence - originally 13/21). Navies can also be
retrained, but obviously can't get armor or weapons upgrades. However, they
can still gain/maintain experience.

   Medieval II TW  /---------------------------------------------------------o
   -------o--------\                        Mercenaries                      |
       (000B7)      \--------------------------------------------------------o

Mercenaries are soldiers for hire that can recruited almost anywhere - for a
price. What mercenaries you can get depends heavily upon where you are. The
FAUST has statistics for all mercenaries.

Generally, mercenaries cost more to recruit and maintain than your own units.
Significantly more, to be honest. They generally aren't worth it, the way I see
things. However, they are useful if you need to replenish lost manpower quickly
and don't have immediate access to a retraining center. Mercenaries can also
complete an army that is lacking in one group (missile, cavalry, infantry, and
so on), but your own troops are probably just as good. However, some factions
lack crossbow units - mercenary crossbowmen are available all across Europe,
and aren't too expensive. Later on, mercenary arquebusiers are available, along
with mercenary Monster Bombards and elephant units - unique/rare units like
these are the exceptions to the general rule that your own units are better,
since you don't even get these units.

However, there are several exceptions to my feelings about mercenaries. Jihad
and Crusade armies get access to cheap "holy warriors" who are just as good as
your own (Crusaders can sometimes find units that are better than what they
themselves can muster). The second advantage of "holy warriors" is that they're
very affordable - even Dismounted/mounted Knights can be recruited for under
350 gold, and like all units Crusade/Jihad, they have 0 upkeep (after the holy
war is over, their upkeep does not stay 0, however). I fully recommend abusing
the guilty consciences of these so-called "holy warriors" to further your own

There are also a few units that are worth their price. The Turks have a little
trouble getting good melee cavalry, so Armenian mercenaries can provide them
with a weapon to match the Western Knights more easily than they could
otherwise. Elephant mercenaries can also be recruited in the far southeastern
parts of the map. The Monster Bombard, which has amazing power and range, and
is only recruitable by The Turks, is available as mercenary unit in the area of
Antioch, Jerusalem, Jedda, Aleppo, and nearby regions.

   Medieval II TW  /---------------------------------------------------------o
   -------o--------\                 Managing Your Treasury                  |
       (000B8)      \--------------------------------------------------------o

Without money, you're going to have a fun time trying to conquer anything. You
can not build, recruit, or maintain anything if you can't pay for it. So, you
will want to have money, and preferably lots of it.

I accomplish this by focusing on economic development in my cities (I do follow
my own advice and upgrade the Barracks, but only in larger cities). This means
Town Halls, Ports, Merchant Ports, Farms, Markets, and Roads - especially the
first two as I've said above. I also make farm upgrades a part of my castles'
plans, but castles are ultimately designed to recruit soldiers, not make money.
I also usually keep no more than what my settlements can garrison for free to
reduce military upkeep costs. To supplement short-term losses from heavy
construction, I usually sack cities. Sacking generates plenty of cash, and
doesn't kill a significant enough number of citizens to nullify the initial
infusion of gold by stunting the economy. However, that is not so with very
small settlements, such as Bulgar in the for Northeast or Timbuktu in Africa.
These and other settlements like them are usually controlled by rebels, which
means that they're not getting developed like a faction's settlement would.
This results in sacking being destructive and yielding very little money.

Generally, if your reputation isn't awful (Dubious/Deceitful) and your diplomat
or princess has decent influence/charm, you can charge other factions a little
bit of cash to trade with you. If possible, do it.

By following my own advice from this section and section B4, I usually have
more money than I can spend (unless I were to start utterly squandering it) by
1260. By 1140, I usually have enough unless several of my settlements start
needing wall/castle upgrades concurrently.

   Medieval II TW  /---------------------------------------------------------o
   -------o--------\                         Diplomacy                       |
       (000B9)      \--------------------------------------------------------o

Although diplomacy is useful when you actually try it in real life, it is not
quite so in Medieval II. Since you're generally building an empire by tearing
apart someone else's, most other factions will begin to feel threatened by you,
and factions you're at war with lose any and all faith in you. This makes
maintaining peace very difficult. As such, you'll want to avoid being at war
with more than two factions at once. If you're the Egyptians or Turks, you can
be at war with the Byzantines and the other two Islamic factions without much
worry of others coming in, since they're usually far removed and the Catholic
factions generally don't establish alliances with the Islamic factions - just
be careful of a Crusade - it will ruin all your carefully lain plans.

The most important factor for diplomacy is your reputation. Bad reputations,
like "Despicable" or "Dubious", don't expect much success. A good reputation,
like "Very Trustworthy", will make make diplomacy easier. The next most
important thing is relations - this is perhaps equally important to repuation,
but this varies from faction to faction, while reputation is universal. Don't
expect to be doing much with your enemies, and even delcaring peace is 

In theory, you can use Diplomacy to declare peace. However, unless your enemies
come to you with a peace offering, it's unlikely that they will accept your
peace proposals, even if you've been utterly destroying them for the entire
conflict. However, if they start the war, and you don't do much to continue it
(thus leaving your relations above the Abysmal level), you can sometimes get a
ceasefire, and maybe even force them to pay for it.

Medieval II also alledges that you can use diplomacy to perhaps extort money
out of factions by threatening them. However, they are once again too stubborn
for their own good. You could have the greatest military on Earth knocking at
their door, but they will blindly say that they do not fear your empty threats,
and even burning down their entire city will not convince them that appeasing
you is the better idea. Your relations with a faction you're at war with are
not likely to be good, so doing much diplomatically is diffuclt. While I have
never had much success with it, readers report being able to rob their enemies
blind for peace, so it's clearly not as hard as I made it out to be.

Bribery in Medieval II is also useless. Never once have I been able to even
get an army to say they're interested in a bribe. The best I've managed to
entice is a diplomat with zero influence - and he wanted over 2,500 gold.
Unlike Rome and BI, bribery is not a feasible strategy in Medieval II. I am,
however, compelled to mention that having a reputation that is good relative
to faction you are attempting to bribe can change things. However, my
experience with bribery is that it is generally a waste of time.

There are some options that can work, however. Marrying foreign princesses to
your men works fairly often - I even managed to end a war using this option,
though it was through using a fairly complex system of alliances. Trade Rights
almost always get accepted, and Map Information exchanges aren't too hard to
pull off. Sometimes, you can sell trade rights (generally if your faction is
large and the other faction is small).

Lastly, keep in mind that even though the balance may say something like very
generous, this does not mean acceptance will occur. Also keep in mind that
foreign factions always offer deals that help them more than you - hit the
counteroffer button and you'll almost always see "Very Generous" as the offer
balance rating.

   Medieval II TW  /---------------------------------------------------------o
   -------o--------\                          Religion                       |
       (00B10)      \--------------------------------------------------------o

There are five religions in Medieval II: Catholicism, Orthodox Christianity,
Islam, Paganism, and Heresy. Judaism is not included because of how limited its
distribution was, and because none of the factions have it as their official
religion. Suspend your disbelief about it and you'll be good to go. No faction
has Paganism as their religion, so its numbers will never increase. Treat it
like you would Islam/Orthodox/Catholicism.

First, I shall cover heresy. Heresy is the worst religion possible. Anything,
even Paganism, is preferable to it. The problem with heresy is that it can crop
up anywhere - a once pious priest/imam can suddenly change his views (or do so
at the behest of a heretic he was trying to denounce) and start converting your
people to heresy. Anywhere with a decent heretic population can also produce
a heretical religious agent of its own, which is bad, as he will speed up the
heresy conversion process and cause religious discontent to snowball into a
serious problem. Of course, most random heretics are usually limited to 0-3
piety, making them fairly easy to remove. In fact, heretics can actually be
somewhat useful for Catholics, as they allow your priests/cardinals to gain
piety, making them more likely to become a cardinal/the Pope. Still, don't
tempt fate by trying to invite heresy into your lands. To deal with heresy,
simply kill the heretic religious agents, and keep your priest/imam in the area
afterwards to convert the people back to your religion from heresy.

Of course, there's still the issue of the other three relgions (your official
one not being an issue). They too will have to go. If you're planning to take
over a settlement, or have significant populations of other religion in your
own lands, send out priests/imams to convert the people to your religion. This,
as I've said many times before, will make ruling your empire much easier.

Then there's the issue of religious wars - Crusades for Catholics, and Jihad
for Islamic factions. They are almost identical in terms of function. They do,
however, differ in the means by which they are called. Catholics must ask the
Pope to start a Crusade for them. This probably won't happen unless you have
5+ crosses with the Pope (click on the shield with your faction logo, then on
the Pope tab to see every Catholic faction's relations with the Pope). Even
then, he may say no, but probably won't. I don't get to experiment much with
this, since I'm usually excommunicated (I've got an empire to build!), and
excommunicated factions can neither start nor join Crusades - however, Crusades
can be called against the excommunicated factions - use this to have other
factions swarm your enemies and shake up what seems to be an unbreakable ring
of alliances. Of course, the Pope will generally want you to join a Crusade you
ask for, so keep that in mind.

Jihads are much less complicated, though a bit less effective since there's
only three Isalmic factions (the Mongols and Timurids are too, but don't seem
to care much about Jihad). A Jihad can be called by any Imam with 5+ piety.
Other than the aforementioned details and the mercenary holy warriors you can
recruit, Jihad and Crusades are the same (obviously, Catholics can not join a

To join a crusade or jihad, build an army with at least one family member and
at least 8 units, then examine the family member's information scroll, and look
for a button on the bottom of this scroll that says "Join Crusade/Jihad" and
then press that button to join the holy war. Armies on Crusade/Jihad will move
much farther per turn, have 0 upkeep for the duration, and access to special
religious mercenaries - some are very good units, and they're all at least
useful for massing infantry to overwhelm your enemies by sheer numbers.

Any armies participating in a successful Crusade/Jihad will gain experience,
and their factions will gain money. Generals from successful Holy Wars will
gain traits that boost their loyalty, chivalry, and command against Muslims or
Catholics. Holy Wars can only be called against some settlements. I can't quite
make sense of the scheme it uses to determine which settlements you can call a
Holy War against, but it's not like there's much you can do if one can not be
called against a certain settlement. I will, however, note that Capitals do
seem to be viable targets, along with rebel settlements.

Orthodox factions do not have a religious war option.

   Medieval II TW  /---------------------------------------------------------o
   -------o--------\                        The Papacy                       |
       (00B11)      \--------------------------------------------------------o

Ah, the Papacy - the eternal thorn in the side of every Catholic ruler, always
there to ruin your plans for conquest. 

The Papacy is not unlike the Senate Faction in Rome: Total War - it starts off
with Rome as its only settlement, gives out missions, tries to control you, and
is generally annoying. And, like the Senate, the most satisfying feeling in the
world is when you destroy them...

...Except that you can't destroy the Papal States. You can strip them of Rome,
but they will just move somewhere else. Unlike the Senate, however, you can
attack the Papal States whenever you want - you will, no matter how much the
Pope liked you before, be excommunicated, however, so it's not recommended
until the later stages of the game (when you're probably getting excommunicated
by every Pope anyway). If you do take Rome, the Pope will leave the Rome Region
and go to another region. Once that Pope dies, it seems he just moves back to
the Rome Region, but he won't take the city itself except by force (quite
unlikely) or if you give it back to him.

Unlike the other factions, The Papal States only has a Faction Leader, the Pope
himself. The "Faction Heir" could be said to be the Preferati. The three most
pious Cardinals from seperate factions - if you have all of the Cardinals, then
only the most pious & eligible one will be a Preferati, and he will
automatically assume the role of Pope upon the death of the previous one.

However, that isn't the case for most of the game. Often times, there's an
actual election. All the living cardinals will vote for one of the three
Preferati, and whoever gets the most votes wins. You always want to vote for
whoever looks likely to win, even if it isn't your own man. AI-controlled
Preferati will always vote for themselves, as will their fellow countrymen.
If there are no wars/alliances, the Cardinal with the most piety will win,
unless you and another country control a majority of the votes. If you alone
have a majority of the Cardinals, then feel free to pick the Pope most suitable
to your own needs.

But... most often, it's not so easy to see who is the best man to vote for.
You don't want to vote for the wrong man, but who the right man is is rarely
clear-cut. Cardinals will never vote for their enemies, and will vote for
their countrymen first, allies second (by piety, or eligibility if another tie
occurs in piety), and neutrals third (breaking ties with peity then eligibility
again). If all three Preferati are their enemies, then I assume they'll break
ties in the piety then elibility method (or consider who their worst enemies
are, I've never seen this except for my own cardinals, who of course obey my
orders instead).

My strategy for dealing with the Pope involves keeping them happy if it's
convenient for me, and killing any Pope who thinks himself a higher authority
than I am. As Napoleon Bonaparte said,"Kiss the feet of Popes provided their
hands are tied."

If you are excommunicated, which you probably will be at one point or another,
you have a few options: Kill the Pope to get a more favorable man in office
(note that, if you conquer Rome, this strategy is less likely to work), deal
with it, or reconciliation. Killing the Pope and dealing with it are obvious.
Dealing with it involves nothing more than a 10/20% public order penalty (it
depends upon how many Catholics are in the settlement). Reconciliation involves
getting the Pope's forgiveness. To do this, throw money/settlements at him, and
stop doing whatever got him mad (almost always, this would be killing Catholics
that aren't excommunicated - so stop doing that) at you. Of course, if you can
deal with it and start grinding down the other Catholic factions, then you will
at some point essentially make the Papacy into your puppets - if you are the
only Catholic faction, only you can have cardinals, and thus every Pope will be
from your faction, and like you at least to start; and once there are no more
other Catholics, you won't have to worry about wars against them.

Obviously, the Papacy is just another faction for the Orthodox and Islamic
factions. However, I'd recommend going out of your way to become allies with
the Papal States. If a Catholic faction goes to war with the Pope's allies, the
Pope's opinion of them wil quickly deteriorate, and if it gets low enough, he
will excommunicate them. That will weaken their empire, and invite the other
Catholic rulers to attack that faction, making your war against them a much
simpler task.

Of course, in the early stages of the game, you probably won't have much
trouble with the Pope. You'll probably be focusing on expanding your empire
primarily through capturing rebel settlements, and the Pope has no problems at
all with that. It's once you run out of rebels to crush and start taking on
other Catholics that you run into problems. Warlike popes may tolerate this,
but they certainly won't tolerate war against factions that they favor over
your own. As such, Eastern European factions like Hungary and Poland are the
best suited to dealing with the Pope, since they're the most able to expand
eastward, and don't have to worry about running into any other Catholics
except eachother. Hungary should focus on the Byzantines (you may run across
Venice by doing this, but one war against a Catholic faction won't hurt), while
Poland should head towards Russia (only Denmark and Hungary have any shot of
giving you trouble like this).

Doing missions for the Pope, not fighting other Catholics, and giving the Pope
large sums of money are good ways to maintain a healthy relationship with him.
If you're rich (like 150,000+ gold), but excommunicated, don't hesitate to send
a diplomat to Rome to throw a large sum of gold at the Pope to buy your way
back into the flock. I managed to go from Excommunicated to the Pope's favorite
faction for the small price of 50,000 gold.

Reader Gareth offers an alternative opinion on the Papacy:

"I've always tried to keep the Papacy on side because Crusades provide
such an effective engine of expansion for Catholic factions. The
ability to recruit almost a full stack of maintenance free units for
~5000 florins, even if they are limited in with you can do with them,
is really useful. In the early game especially it allows you to do
large land grabs against nearby Orthodox and Islamic factions, giving
you explosive growth in the early game.  Even into the mid game, a
Crusade against the Mongols (if they show up a bit late especially) or
the Timurids (particularly if they show up early) can really blunt
their advance. The holy grail of crusades (ba boom ching) is a nearby
Catholic faction getting excommunicated - if you move fast you can
easily conquer a bunch of 95% Catholic land with no objections from
the Pope with cheap troops, and increase your standing with his
holiness to boot. This happened to be in my current game playing as
Denmark - I was able to conquer five province Hungary in about eight
turns with a Crusade driven blitzkrieg and five nobles, and now I have
ports in the Black Sea, the Mediterranean and the North Sea. In the
late game I can understand wanting to wipe them out, but even then
there are always more Muslim and Orthodox provinces that can use a

   Medieval II TW  /---------------------------------------------------------o
   -------o--------\     The Mongols, Timurids, Aztecs, and The New World    |
       (00B12)      \--------------------------------------------------------o

Dealing with the Mongols and Timurids is no small task. In fact, it's probably
the greatest challenge in the game. While they both come in massive hordes of
units that probably outclass anything you have, they do have a weakness: They
rarely capture settlements, which means they can't make more units. 

As such, one way to defeat them is with sheer numbers. This is how I took out
the Mongols in my game as France (The Timurids fell similarly, but I also
abused cannons to take out their elephants and anything else I could hit).
There's really no hope of dividing them or beating them unless you're a
complete tactical and military genius (in which case, stop reading this, you
don't need my help). While it may be a serious blow to your economy, stopping
these hordes really is a necessity. Left alone and in your lands, they will
break up your empire, and probably cause more long-term cost because of their
pillaging and killing than it would take to defeat them.

Another way to deal with them, that only really works for Western factions, is
to not deal with them until you have to. Since both the Mongols and Timurids
arrive the farthest Eastern points of the map, you may be able to let Russia,
The Turks, and Egypt try to deal with them. I've found that this really does
not work. In my game as Spain, I was obviously unconcerned with the Mongols, as
dealing with them would've required traveling across all of Europe - it would
have been pointless. However, when I was trying to put together the last pieces
of my goal (45+ regions), I actually found my frontiers (Northern Germany)
under siege by the Mongols - who had also taken over about 8 settlements and
were now an even greater threat. So, basically, don't try this unless you're
feeling lucky (punk).

You could always try to take big armies and good generals and defeat them on
the battle map. Indeed, this may improve the "flood of soldiers" strategy from
above, but remember that the Mongols and Timurids are commanded by their own
top-notch generals (usually 7+ Command and 7+ Dread, and plenty of them have
10 in one or both). Still, it probably would be more effective. It also plays
into the next strategy.

Another idea I've seen tossed around is "Operation Kill All Their Generals." As
you can imagine, it involves killing all of their generals, in battle or by
using assassins. However, this is a momentous task, and would likely require a
horde or two assassins. Success rates against these men rarely get above 30%,
so you're going to need either a lot of luck or a lot of good assassins. Since
good assassins aren't very easy to get, this strategy is perhaps more trouble
than using pure military might - and it's further complicated by the fact that
they usually replace their lost generals with new ones (who are, at least, not
as good as those who came before them). However, bear in mind that you should
kill the initial Khan last, since he usually comes with only the Faction Leader
trait, and raising someone else to the level of Khan by killing him will only
make your job even harder. This strategy is actually flawless if you're willing
to bend the rules a little bit. Simply get your assassin in position to kill
a Mongol/Timurid general, and then save the game. You can then have him attempt
to kill them over and over by reloading your save until he finally hits his
mark. However, purist gamers and the impatient will not like this strategy.

Previously, there was a paragraph about drawing the Mongols and Timurids into
conflict with eachother here. However, a reader has sent me a more effective
version of this strategy:

"At some point in time get over to the most Eartern part of pf the map. This
can be done more easily by traveling on boat and after having the pope start a
crusade to one of those cities due to the movement bonus. Send an army or two
over to there along with diplomats and Priests. When you get there go after the
Crusade target with one army and send any others to capture other settlements
and send diplomats to try to negotiate more settlemets and units to your side.
When the Mongols come, give them the settlemets that you captured earlier. By
giving them the territories, they will be situated in the Middle East, far
away from the majority of your Cities/Castles and military power. The Mongols
will then have to fight through the Egyptians, Turks, Byzantines, and a
variety of other factions to get to you while you build up your forces and
forge alliances. When the Timurids come into play, they will hopefully be
surrounded by the Mongols and thus attack them in a prolonged struggle that
weakens them enough to be taken out by another faction. This strategy requires
a lot of preparation and time to work, and it might not work. It is a
possibility that may kill two birds with one stone."

Note that that idea doesn't really work for Egypt, the Turks, or other
Eastern factions too well, and it could backfire terribly on you by allowing
the Mongols to reinforce their initial armies with new recruits. However,
their new recruits wouldn't be as dangerous, but they would still be a new
threat. You may consider giving them only one settlement - calling a Crusade
or Jihad on that settlement afterwards would also be a great way to bring
other factions into conflict with the Mongols, as well. The Timurids are
also an Islamic faction in this game, though I'm not sure how they would
react to a Jihad.

I've found that trying to ally with them generally results in betrayal, so I
would not recommend even bothering with it. They're a massive horde of only
warriors - what use do they have for things like peace and security? None.

Th Aztecs and the New World are, thankfully, a different matter. The Aztecs do
have incredible numbers, but they have trouble replacing lost soldiers, and
mostly low-quality infantry for soldiers, which are fodder for your cavalry.
Even their good units' defence tops out at 12. However, there is one problem
with cavalry charges in the New World: There's a lot of trees. Try to avoid
heading into the forests, as the trees will break up your charges. Also, keep
in mind that ever faction except Poland, Denmark, and Scotland has missile
units with better range than the Aztec archers - their only long range units.
Musketeers will make short work of the Aztecs, as well. The only thing you have
to worry about in the New World is running out of men and revolts, as bringing
new soldiers from Europe is largely infeasible, unless you want to spend 10+
turns waiting for them to arrive.

Since getting reinforcements from Europe isn't really possible, and the New
World is poorly developed, you'll largely have to make do with what you've go
there with. So, you'll want at least two full stacks (20 units is one full
stack) of units, along with plenty of agents (aside from diplomats - one, at
most, is all you'll need).Follow the above army guidelines, but add add extra
agents, especially priests, as the New World is 100% Pagan. There are also some
very good trade resources in the New World, so bring some merchants if you're
short on cash for some reason.

When sailing to the New World, I usually go from Lisbon, Leon, London, or
Western France. To get their quickly, you'll need to mass units from other
locations, though you'll only need to one Baghlah/Carrack/Grand Carrack, as the
other factions shouldn't be in any condition to colonize by 1400 - and may not
do so even if they are (I can't be sure, as my enemies have never had the
resources to do so by the time they actually could). I also try to get to the
northern part of the New World, as those settlements are controlled by Rebels
(note: for reasons of not having a severely messed up map and to keep you from
going to North America for some reason, geography has been severely eschewed
in Medieval II - for example, one can sail from Florida to Great Britain
without having to move north/south much at all).

   Medieval II TW  /---------------------------------------------------------o
   -------o--------\                         Guilds                          |
       (00B13)      \--------------------------------------------------------o

There are numerous guilds in Medieval II, all of which provide some very useful
services. You do not build guildhouses, you are offered them. You also do not
upgrade them yourself either - these too must be offered to you. Each
settlement can have one guild, and cities and castles get different guilds. All
guilds have three levels: Basic (usually without a title), Master/Major, and
the Headquarters (which, as far as I can tell, is limited to one of each type
in the world). They cost 1000, 2000, and 3000 gold, and are somehow built as
soon as you accept them. I will tell you how to encourage certain guilds, and
what they do in this section.

All agent guilds follow the Thieves' Guild's model for bonuses, to the best of
my knowledge, so I'll only post their additional bonuses. All the Knightly
orders are basically the same, but only the HRE can get the Teutonic Knights,
and only Spain & Portugal can get the Knights of Santiago. The Templars and
Hospitaller Knights are available to all Catholic factions, with the exception
of Spain, Portugal and the HRE, which lack the Templars.

Level 3 guilds also tend to result in those agents recruited in the city also
getting some beneficial retinue members at recruitment, and they also seem to
find those with better inherent traits.

Thieves' Guild: This one is offered a lot - you don't even need to try to get
one, but I suppose recruiting lots of spies in the city would further encourage
it. It does seem to encourage upgrading, though. Only cities can get a Thieves'

" recruited in this " means  will gain
the listed bonuses if recruited in the city that has the guild.

 Level 1: Spies recruited in this city will have +1 Subterfuge.

 Level 2: Spies recruited in this city will have +2 Subterfuge, and all spies
 recruited anywhere else will have +1 to Subterfuge (A Master's guild and a
 plain guild stack as far as I know, but Two Masters' guilds do not; this trait
 of non-stacking applies to all agent training guilds).

 Level 3: Spies recruited in this city will have +3 Subterfuge, and all spies
 recruited anywhere else will have +2 Subterfuge (does not stack with Master's
 guild bonus).

Assassin/Hashashim's Guild: Recruit assassins in the city. This is a rather
reliable guild, as recruiting assassins en masse in a city generally does work,
but it's not as common the Thieves' Guild. Hashashim are in theory phenomenal
units, but in reality there's only 24 of them per unit (on my unit scale),
which cripples their usefulness. It's a shame, because they would provide some
much needed heavy infantry to the Islamic factions.

 Level 1: Can recruit Hashashim (Islamic Factions only), +5% Public order from

 Level 2: Can recruit more Hashashim (Islamic Factions only), +5% Public order
 from law.

 Level 3: Can recruit more Hashashim (Islamic Factions only), +10% Public order
 from law.

Merchant's Guild: Recruit lots of merchants.

 All: Increase in tradeable goods (More money)

 Level 1: Can recruit Merhcant Cavalry Militia (not all factions)

 Level 2: More MCM

 Level 3: More MCM

Theologian's Guild: Recruit lots of priests/imams. This guild is very useful
for Catholics in particular, especially when in the same city as a Cathedral.

Swordsmiths' Guild: Recruiting plenty of melee units seems to do it. This guild
is much rarer than the agent guilds, but offers a bigger payoff.

 Level 1: All units recruited/retrained in this place get +1 to melee attack.

 Level 2: All units recruited/retrained in this place get +1 to melee attack,
 all Knights (mounted only) get +1 Experience. I think this bonus would stack
 with bonuses from thing like Jousting Lists.

 Level 3: I've never gotten this, but it does not state that it is any
 different from the Master's Guild.

St. John's Knights Guild (Hospitaller Knights): Use this as a model for the
other three Knightly orders - however, they don't offer the public health bonus
that St. John's does, so I'd try for the Hospitaller instead. I've only gotten
the Templars once, but that's not a problem, as they're inferior to the
Hospitaller Knights. Note that cities can get these Guilds, which is a great
boost to their military usefulness.

 Level 1: Can recruit  Knights (3), +5% Public Health

 Level 2: Can recruit  Knights (4, +1 Exp), +10% Public Health

 Level 3: Can recruit  Knights (6, +2 Exp), +15% Public Health

Alchemists' Guild: Enhances gunpowder troops. I've never gotten this one, but
logic would say that recruiting plenty of gunpowder troops in the settlement
would encourage it. Note that the Byzatines can not get this, as they lack any
gunpowder except the lowly Bombard (which would mean that recruiting cannons
in the settlement wouldn't encourage this).

 Level 1: +1 Experience for gunpowder troops recruited here.

 Level 2: +1 Exp for all gunpowder troops, an additional +1 for all gunpowder
 troops recruited here.

 Level 3: +2 Exp for all gunpowder troops, an additional +1 for all gunpowder
 troops recruited here.

Horse Breeders' Guild: I've only gotten this once. To do so, I used the racing
track to allow the recruitment of mounted units in a city (as Egypt), and
recruited lots of them. This is exactly the same as the Alchemists' Guild,
except that it boosts experience for cavalry, not gunpowder troops.

Masons' Guild: I've never gotten this guild, either. I'd imagine that you have
to build a lot of buildings to get it. Logic would say that stone constructions
like walls and paved roads are of the greatest importance, but I no definitive
idea. However, it is in my eyes worse than the Hospitaller Knights anyway.

 Level 1: +5% Public order from Happiness, 3 of some kind of infantry (faction

 Level 2: +10% Public order from Happiness, 4 of a better type of infantry
 (faction specific)

 Level 3: +15% Public order from Happiness, 4 of a better type of infantry
 (faction specific)

Explorers' Guild: Readers confirm that this guild increases movement points
for your armies by encouraging the retinue of generals to include the
Intrepid Explorer. I'm still not certain how to encourage it, but it isn't
too difficult to get, either. 

Woodsmens' Guild (England Only): This interesting guild allows you to recruit
the completely ahistorical, but nevertheless pretty good, Sherwood archers.
However, each unit of them is only 24 men (on my unit scale), so like the
Hashashim, they are hindered by their numbers. However, unlike the Islamic
factions and heavy infantry, England has no short supply of archers.

 Level 1: +1 Experience for archers recruited here.

 Level 2: +1 Experience for archers recruited here, +1 additional experience
 for all archers.

 Level 3: +1 Experience for archers recruited here, +2 additional experience
 for all archers.

   Medieval II TW  /---------------------------------------------------------o
   -------o--------\              Bandits, Pirates, and Rebels               |
       (00B14)      \--------------------------------------------------------o

Every single faction is at war with these guys for the entire game. They only
make life harder for you by hampering trade and attacking your armies, so you
should try to deal with them as soon as possible. Unfortunately, they have a
nasty habit of appearing randomly even in your heartland settlements, so you'll
need to be prepared to deal with them.

Bandits and Pirates will sometimes block your roads/ports, stifling trade. Just
get out there and smash them. The only problem is that the Pirate Ship has 10
Offence and 10 Defence, making it better than any basic ship. However, once you
have the level 2 shipbuilding facilities, pirates aren't much of a threat.

Rebels represent any settlement that is not controlled by any real faction. As
such, they themselves are not truly a faction. They never expand, and rarely if
ever move their armies. In essence, they sit there are wait to be conquered.
However, they're not just peasants - they can have the same units as the real
factions, so conquering them can be tough. However, only settlements that 
revolt seem to get quality units (but, when this happens, they usually get over
14 units, sometimes 20).

   Medieval II TW  /---------------------------------------------------------o
   -------o--------\                          Missions                       |
       (00B15)      \--------------------------------------------------------o

From time to time, you will receieve missions. These are completely optional,
though sometimes you will be compelled to complete them (but you still don't
have to do it). Generally, completing a mission involves a reward of some sort
(money, units, friendship). Missions can come from several sources: Your
invisible but ever present council of nobles (their missions are usually more
like suggestions, but often times they ask you to do something that you should
do anyway), The Pope (Catholics only), and rarely other factions. Sometimes,
failing a Papal mission will only result is more strained realtions, but it
can also result in excommunication if he doesn't like you to begin with. The
mission scroll will state which case it is.

*Cash rewards generally range from 500-5000 gold.

*Doing missions for the Pope will usually increase his satisfaction with you.

*Doing missions for others factions will also boost your relations, and can
have cash rewards as well.

There are a variety of missions you can be given:

*Take a rebel settlement. Do it unless it's not in your plans, and consider
adding it to your plans if it isn't.

*Blockade a port. Your nobles will only ask you to do this to enemies for 1-4
turns. The Pope may ask you to do this to excommunicated Catholics, enemy or
not, for a few turns as well. Ignore the Pope unless you feel like taking on
another war.

*Convert an area (Pope only). You should be doing this anyway, and the Pope's
goals are quite modest, so this is basically free money and/or goodwill.

*Assassinate someone. Note that it is assassinate, not kill in battle, not
denounce - those will cause the mission to expire, not lead to success. Most
times, this is the Pope telling you to murder a heretic, but sometimes the
heirs of other faction will request Regicide - the death of their faction
leader (still only by assassination).

*Join the Crusade. The Pope will order you to join a Crusade within 9 turns;
quite simple.

*The Mission scroll will list Crusades and Jihad that involve you (be they
called by your religion or against your settlement).

*Your Merchants' Guild will give missions, if you have one. It asks for you to
acquire trade rights (which you should anyway) and Mercantile Acquisitons,
which consists of using your merchants to take out (acquire) other merchants.

|                             Faction Profiles                       (000C0) |

Obviously, since Medieval II is a strategy game that takes place over several
centuries, there's no way to possibly guarantee victory, so I can only try to
provide you with an overlook of how useful each faction's military is, a view
of its strengths and weaknesses in terms of construction, and a few ideas on
how to start off - after that point, the number of possible outcomes is, in
theory, nearly infinite. For comparison, the game of Go, which is simple in
that each of the 289 spaces can only have a black piece, white piece, or no
piece, has more possible outcomes than there are atoms in the universe. This
game has far more than 289 spaces, and far more possible occupiers of those
than three.

The Standard Catholic Long Campaign Goal is to hold 45+ regions, including
Jerusalem. Several Catholic factions do deviate from this, though.

   Medieval II TW  /---------------------------------------------------------o
   -------o--------\                          England                        |
       (000C1)      \--------------------------------------------------------o


Short Campaign: Hold 15 regions, Eliminate France and Scotland

Long Campaign: Standard Catholic

Starts with: Nottingham, Caen, London (Capital)

England has access to the Woodsmens' Guild and Naval Academies.

Woodsmens' Guild:

 Level 1: +1 experience for archers recruited here

 Level 2: +1 experience for archers recruited here, another +1 for all archers,
  can recruit Sherwood archers (3).

 Level 3: +1 experience for archers recruited here, another +2 for all archers,
  can recruit Sherwood archers (4).

Naval Academy:

 Level 1: 10% discount on ship training costs, +1 experience for ships with
 cannons recruited here.

 Level 2: 20% discount on ship training costs, +1 experience for ships with
 cannons recruited here.

Units: England's military isn't too unique from other Catholics outside of its
missile units, which are fairly easy to get and of high quality.

*Good Infantry, including Billmen, Heavy Billmen (High attack, Heavy Billmen
also have good defense) and Dismounted English Knights (21 Attack, 13 Defence).
Heavy Bill militia can be garrisoned in cities for free, and make excellent
defensive forces.

*Good ranged units before gunpowder, but only Arqebusiers after gunpowder.
However, the English Longbowmen, Sherwood Archers, Yeoman Archers, and Retinue
Longbows are some of the best archers in the game - any English army should
have plenty of missile units (don't leave them unprotected, though). English
Longbowmen, Retinue Longbowmen, and Yeoman Archers can also Deploy Stakes
before a battle begins - used in great numbers, stakes can form a good
barrier that will keep cavalry away from your distance units (you can put
artillery in the stake zone as well). Stakes can also be placed at city or
castle gates to help slow attackers (keep in mind that you'll have to start
the battle with your archers at the gates as well, though).

*Get mortars, which fire high arcing shots that are useful during seiges.
However, they do not get Basilisks, Cannons (a specific unit) or Serpentines,
which hurts their artillery options.

*Cavalry are unremarkable but not bad (Feudal Knights, Demi Lancers, English


Your first goal should be eliminating Scotland - they start off in a very weak
position, and your capable cavalry can deal with their infantry with ease.
Scotland is essentially a weaker version of England, so whatever they have,
you can counter. During this time, you should also consider taking advantage of
the fact that France is fragmented, and snap up some rebel settlements in the
Northwestern part of Europe (Modern France/Germany). You'll probably end up
at war with France, Denmark, or the Holy Roman Empire - try to limit it to one
of them, and don't provoke war until there are no more rebels left to conquer
in Northern France/Germany. You could also consider Oslo and Stockholm, but
that does put you in close proximity to Denmark, which usually leads to war
with the way the AI in this game works.

Although France will probably be the one you go to war with, the topography of
France favors France's fighting style (strength in cavalry). It's a relatively
flat area, which makes their superior cavalry quite usable. The HRE, however,
is quite mountains and has plenty of rivers, which is well suited to England's
superior missile units, as they can easily take up defensive positions and
rain arrows on their enemies. Of course, it's not like you can't use Engalnd's
good infantry and missile units in France - it's just a little more difficult.
If you can quickly take the war to the French and cripple their economy, they
won't be able to raise good cavalry to trouble your infantry.

   Medieval II TW  /---------------------------------------------------------o
   -------o--------\                          France                         |
       (000C2)      \--------------------------------------------------------o


Short Campaign: Hold 15 regions, Eliminate England

Long Campaign: Standard Catholic

Starts with: Toulose, Angers, Marseille, Rheims, Paris (Capital)

Units: France has, in my opinion, the 3rd best military of all Catholic
Factions, but The Turks and Russia give them some competition due to France's
lack of Musketeers, while Spain and Portugal outclass them a bit. Still, they
can make up for this small problem in other ways.

France has access to Jousting Lists and music.


 Level 1: +1 Experience for Knights recruited there.

 Level 2: +2 Experience for Knights recruited there, 1 free upkeep unit, and
  +5% public order from happiness


 Level 1: +5% public order from happiness.

 Level 2: +10% public order from happiness, +5% public health.

*France's infantry options are somewhat limited early on, but the Dismounted
Feudal Knight is still a great infantry unit, so they lack diversity, not
power. Later on, with Voulges, Pikemen, and Swiss Pikemen (mercenaries that
France can easily find), they no longer lack a diverse selection of infantry.
They also get Dismounted Noble Knights (21 Attack, 13 Defence), which are the
same unit as England's Dismounted English Knights.

*France's early missile unit choices aren't too good either, but Crossbowmen
are still good units. However, later on, with Scots Guard, Arquebusiers, French
Mounted Archers, and Aventuriers, their missile units are only lacking in

*France's artillery options are excellent. They get both the Basilisk and
Serpentine, which can be used to decimate walls and enemy troops, with great
results. Only the Turkish Monster Bombard can compete with French artillery.
Hungary and the HRE also have these options, so bear that in mind.

*France's cavalry, however, are their greatest strength. Although I'm not sure
what separates the Noble Knights from Chivalric Knights, the French Lancer is
the best cavalry unit in the game.

Strategy: France, despite their military strength, starts off as a very
fractured land. Your first task is to conquer all of modern-day France except
Caen (England owns this). Spain, Portugal, Denmark, England and the HRE could
easily sneak in and try to take your lands, so be quick about consolidating
your local power. Also keep in mind that Spain, Portugal, and The Moors will
probably end up fighting each other for control of Iberia, and Denmark and the 
HRE will probably end up fighting eachother as well. You would do well to make
sure Scotland can occupy England's attention, or at least get a navy in the
English Channel.

If possible, go to war with England first. Although the forests and decent
hills of England may make your cavalry less useful, there's still plenty of
plains to fight on, and you can charge uphill if you need to (or just get
around your enemies and charge downhill into their rear). When fighting England
be sure to have superior cavalry, as their archers will otherwise cause many
problems for you - also remember that they can deploy stakes, which can ruin
your day if you foolishly charge into them. If Scotland is still around once
you dispatch England, then get rid of them too, and conquer all of Great
Britain (get Ireland too).

After you're done with England, try to keep Spain, Portugal, Denmark, and the
HRE off your back and conquer Italy. Milan, Venice, Genoa, Florence, Naples,
and Bologna (starts off as HRE, but Milan, Venice, or Sicily may grab it) will
generate a lot of money. If you've been excommunicated by now, you might as
well attack Rome, too - just be sure to kill the Pope. After Italy, take
Corsica, Sardinia, and Sicily - this should take out Sicily and Milan, and with
Venice in hand, you should be ready to take out Venice. After that, work on
securing Germany or Iberia. And, after that point, it's pointless to provide
you with any tips, since I really have no way to predict what could be going

   Medieval II TW  /---------------------------------------------------------o
   -------o--------\                          Spain                          |
       (000C3)      \--------------------------------------------------------o


Short - Hold 15 Regions, eliminate The Moors, Eliminate Portugal

Long - Hold 45 Regions, including Jerusalem, Granada

Starts with: Leon, Toledo (Capital)

Spain has access to the Plaza Del Toro, which helps keep public order (+5%) due
to happiness, and allows Jinetes to be recruited (4). It can not be upgraded.

Spain has access to jousting lists.


 Level 1: +1 Experience for Knights recruited there.

 Level 2: +2 Experience for Knights recruited there, 1 free upkeep unit, and
  +5% public order from happiness

Units: Spain, along with the virtually identical Portugal, has my personal
favorite army. They have cavalry to match anyone except France (and the Lancer
is only a modest improvement over the Chivalric/Feudal Knight), have muskets,
Grand Carracks, good artillery, and basically everything you could want.

Units: Spain's army is balanced and talented.

*Spain has excellent infantry - in addition to the standard knights, they also
have Swordsmen militias for cities, Sword and Buckler men, and Dismounted
Conquistadores (16 attack, 22 defence). They also have the execellent Tercio

*Spain has good missile units before gunpowder, primarily through their
Almughavars, a powerful javelin unit. After gunpowder, they have musketeers,
which only a few other factions have.

*Spain has access to the Basilisk, but not the Mortar or Serpentine.

*Spain has the standard Feudal/Chivalric cavalry, as well as Mounted
Crossbowmen, Jinetes, and the professional Gendarmes (do not charge without

Strategy: Your first goal is to conquer the Iberian peninsula, which means you
must also take out Portugal and the Moors - go after Portugal first, so you do
not end up in a protracted war with them that will hurt your standing with the
Pope. After that, take out the Moors. You'll want to recruit more Priests than
you would with factions like France or England, as many Iberian settlements
have significant Muslim populations. After you drive the Moors from Iberia, you
should take the war to their homelands in Africa and eliminate them. After you
do this, there's a lot of options: France and Northern Italy are the best
targets. Both are good lands to rule; France isn't quite as profitable, but it
has Castles that have been getting developed for the whole game, but Italy
offers greater monetary rewards. France would be easier to conquer because you
would only face one faction, but Italy's states could be conquered one at a
time for easier conquest. I prefer France because it is contiguous with Spain,
meaning you don't have to export soldiers by sea. But, it's your choice - go
after the other target once you finish, and you're on your own from there.

   Medieval II TW  /---------------------------------------------------------o
   -------o--------\                   The Holy Roman Empire                 |
       (000C4)      \--------------------------------------------------------o


Short - Hold 20 Regions, Eliminate Milan, Denmark

Long - Hold 45 Regions, Including Rome

Starts with: Nuremburg, Staufen, Vienna, Innsbruck, Bologna, 
              Frankfurt (Capital)

The HRE has access to Banks and Jousting Lists. Banks increase tradeable goods,
and have 2 levels. Jousting lists are just like France's, but I'll reproduce
their attributes here:


 Level 1: +1 Experience for Knights recruited there.

 Level 2: +2 Experience for Knights recruited there, 1 free upkeep unit, and
  +5% public order from happiness

Units: Early on, the HRE has units that are on par with the rest of Europe.
However, they're a bit behind the times, and don't get Pikes or Muskets. They
do, however, get the very powerful (20 Attack) Reiters, mounted gunmen whose
only drawback is poor range (worse than javelins). Still, I've never really
liked the HRE, as they're basically surrounded by potential enemies. Still,
they have a strong starting faction with far more territories than most others.

*Standard Knights, also have Zweihander and Gothic Knights (Dismounted Feudal
Knights are better than both, though). Forlorn Hope (17 Attack, 12 Defence)
could be good, but limited by 24 (my unit scale) men per unit. Dismounted
Imperial Knights are also Armor Piercing, but Dismounted Feudal Knights are
probably still better.

*Have Arquebusiers, Pavise Crossbowmen, but no Muskets. Also have mounted

*Have Basilisk, Serpentine, lack mortars.

*Holy Roman Cavalry often use armor piercing weapons like axes over swords as
secondary weapons (lances are primary weapons). This gives the Imperial Knights
an advantage over Feudal Knights, and Gothic/Teutonic Knights an advantage over
Chivalric/Templar Knights.

Strategy: There's a fair amount of rebel settlements in Germany, France, and
Eastern Europe. Once you grab all of those that you can (focusing on containing
Denmark), go after Denmark. If you played properly and had some luck, they
should be restricted to Arhus. If not, still try to eliminate them. Also, be
quick about it - you don't want a protracted war with another Catholic to put
even more stress on your already strained relations with the Pope (with whom
the HRE has the worst starting relations of all). After that, your next target
should be Italy unless France, England, Poland, or Hungary is at war with you.
If they are, try to declare peace so you can focus on Milan, Venice, and Sicily
instead of less important lands. As always, feel free to take over Rome if you
have been excommunicated - you're going to need it for the Long campaign in any
case, so you'll have to conquer it sometimes; and, as always, be sure to kill
the Pope.

After that, you have a lot of options: France, England, Iberia, Hungary/Poland,
The Byzantines, Africa... too many options. You'll have to consider what has
happened by then in your game and choose based on that.

   Medieval II TW  /---------------------------------------------------------o
   -------o--------\                           Venice                        |
       (000C5)      \--------------------------------------------------------o


Short - Hold 15 Regions, Eliminate Milan, The Byzantine Empire

Long - Hold 45 Regions, including Constantinople

Starts with: Ragusa, Iraklion, Venice (Capital)

Venice has access to banks (increased trade) and Art Houses.

Art Houses:

 Level 1: +5% Public order from happiness

 Level 2: +10% Public order from happiness, +5% Public Health

Units: Venice has a very good military, though their cavalry isn't anything
special (they need Hospitaller/Templar Knights to match Chivalric Knights).
However, their navy is excellent, and they have plenty of good technology. The
Venetian Galleass is an amazing ship, at 26 Attack and 20 Defence, it will be
the best naval unit out there until the Carrack and Grand Carrack come along,
and it can probably beat the Islamic Baghlah despite being a full generation

*Venetian infantry isn't anything special, aside from the Venetian Heavy
Infantry unit itself (16 Attack + AP, 16 Defence). As an Italian faction,
Venice has the easily recruited Italian Militia and Italian Spear Militia, who
far outclass the regular Town/Spear militia of other factions. Cities can also
recruit these units with ease, making Veneitian cities much easier to defend,
in addition to giving you extra incentive to build up city barracks so that you
can use gunpowder as soon as it is ready.

*Venetian missile units are nothing special until gunpowder, though the Pavise
Crossbowmen and Venetian archers are still quality units (not quite English
Longbows or Genoese Crossbows, but close).

*Venice does not get the Basilisk, but does get the Monster Ribault and the
Culverin. I do prefer the Basilisk to the Monster Ribault, but the Culverin
can usually knock out walls before those on top have a chance to flee - you'll
just have to have one more Culverin unit, maybe. Still, the Monster ribault is
good for anti-troop uses.

*Venice's cavalry aren't all that amazing, but they can field Feudal Knights,
Templar Knights, and Hospitaller Knights, so you shouldn't have any complaints
in this regard.

Strategy: Despite their good technology and units, Venice's starting position
is a difficult one. Sandwich between the Byzantine and Holy Roman Empires, they
are great risk for early difficulties - though with time they could easily beat
this two rotting empires, they are not quite ready to do so in 1080. To further
complicate matters, one of their settlements is stranded on an island (Crete),
which makes the beginning of the game harder for Venice. However, if you can
put together some strong armies, capture a good number of nearby rebels, and
then crush the Byzantines, you should be fine. Alternative, you could try to
takeover the profitable Italian cities and then head north to take out the Holy
Romans. However, since the Byzantines are almost certain to come into conflict
with you, you might as well go after them. After taking Italy and Byzantium's
former lands, you could go after the HRE, Poland/Hungary, France, or even The
Turks, Iberia, or Africa - and, once again, at this point you're on your own.

   Medieval II TW  /---------------------------------------------------------o
   -------o--------\                           Milan                         |
       (000C6)      \--------------------------------------------------------o


Short - Hold 15 Regions, Eliminate Venice, Eliminate HRE

Long - Hold 45 Regions, Including Constantinople

Starts With: Genoa, Milan (Capital)

Milan has access to banks (increased trade) and Art Houses.

Art Houses:

 Level 1: +5% Public order from happiness

 Level 2: +10% Public order from happiness, +5% Public Health

Units: Milan's army is almost identical to Venice's, except that they lack
the Venetian Heavy Infantry and Venetian Archers units. However, they have some
better crossbow units, and slightly better cavalry. They also share the Monster
Ribault with Venice, but lack the Galleass. As such, I'll just cover the small
differences between the two factions here, and copy the rest from Venice.

*Milanese infantry isn't anything special. As an Italian faction, Milan has the
easily recruited Italian Militia and Italian Spear Militia, who far outclass
the regular Town/Spear militia of other factions. Cities can also recruit these
units with ease, making Veneitian cities much easier to defend, in addition to
giving you extra incentive to build up city barracks so that you can use
gunpowder as soon as it is ready.

*Milan has, quite possibly, the best missile units in Europe. Genoese Crossbows
and their militia counterpart (who make excellent free garrison units) have
very good attack and defence, and can even hold their own in melee. Milan also
has access to musketeers, furthering their missile dominance.

*Milan does not get the Basilisk, but does get the Monster Ribault and the
Culverin. I do prefer the Basilisk to the Monster Ribault, but the Culverin
can usually knock out walls before those on top have a chance to flee - you'll
just have to have one more Culverin unit, maybe. Still, the Monster ribault is
good for anti-troop uses.

*Milanese cavalry can compete with other factions, though don't expect them to
dominate, say, France or Spain. The Famiglia Ducale is close to, but not quite,
the Chivalric/Norman Knights' equal. There's also the option of Hospitaller or
Templar Knights.

Strategy: Milan starts off with no Castles, but you can easily acquire Corsica
and Sardinia. However, Florence and the other Italian cities should be your
first go. Ignore Naples to start - you don't need to be at war with Venice, the
HRE, and Sicily all at once. If you can avoid taking on the HRE before taking
everything Venice and nearby Rebels (including those in France) have, do so.
After that, the HRE and Sicily should be your next target. France is probably
your next logical step, and after France, the Byzantines are a good choice, as
they do have Constantinople, which you'll require. Given this plan, you'll want
to make Spain/Portugal (or both) and Hungary your allies - also consider Poland
and The Turks. If you can't get allies in these nations, don't change your
plans. You can do it on your own, it'll just be a little bit more difficult.

   Medieval II TW  /---------------------------------------------------------o
   -------o--------\                          Sicily                         |
       (000C7)      \--------------------------------------------------------o


Short - Hold 15 Regions, Eliminate Venice, Eliminate Milan

Long - Standard Catholic

Sicily has access to art houses.

Art Houses:

 Level 1: +5% Public order from happiness

 Level 2: +10% Public order from happiness, +5% Public Health

Units: Sicily's units aren't quite the same as Venice and Milan. Sicily is much
more like France and England than Venice or Milan. Their Norman Knights are
also some of the best cavalry in the game - especially since they can be
recruited easily, as they replace Feudal Knights, but have 3 more Attack.

*Sicily has the typically strong Italian Militias, and the Italian Men At Arms
and Broken Lances. Dismounted Norman Knights replace Dismounted Feudal Knights,
though I don't know of any differences other than appearance - and the Norman
Knights certainly do look much cooler than the the Feudal knights, but that's
about it.

*Sadly, Sicily doesn't have access to the Musketeers of Venice and Milan, nor
the Genoese Crossbow units or an equivalent, but they do have Muslim Archers
(just like Venetian archers).

*Sicily lacks the Monster Ribault, and trades the Culverin's superior range for
the "Cannon" unit's superior power (and, at the range of cannons, power is all
that truly matters). They don't get the Basilisk.

*Sicily's cavalry is on par with France's, though they don't have anything with
the 10 Armor of the Lancer, nor the disciplined Gendarmes. However, their
Norman Knights, which replace Feudal Knights for other factions, are very good
early cavalry, and are even on par with Chivalric Knights. Make use of these
excellent troops whenever possible.

Strategy: Sicily has a similar strategy to Venice and Milan, as well. However,
since they start further to the South, it does change at the mid game point.
Still, start with taking out Venice and Milan and taking over Northern Italy.
Now, this will likely put your realtions with the HRE, the Pope, and the
Byzantines under strain. You may consider giving Ragusa to the Papal States to
prevent a border conflict the Byzantines, but that's not necessary. I would
focus on going North to take out the HRE, but if you fear Excommunication, you
can go east for the Byzatines instead. At some point along this, you should
take over Corsica and Sardinia as well. Once the HRE/Byzantines are down, the
other is your logical next step. If there's ever a Crusade to Jerusalem, join
it to get a discount rate on conquering it.

   Medieval II TW  /---------------------------------------------------------o
   -------o--------\                         Portugal                        |
       (000C8)      \--------------------------------------------------------o


Short - Hold 15 Regions, Eliminate Spain, Eliminate The Moors

Long - Hold 45 Regions, including Granada, Jerusalem

Starts with: Pamplona, Lisbon (Capital)

Portugal has access to the Plaza Del Toro, which helps keep public order (+5%)
due to happiness, and allows Jinetes to be recruited (4). It can not be

Portugal also has access to tourney fields and naval academies.


 Level 1: +1 Experience for Knights recruited there.

 Level 2: +2 Experience for Knights recruited there, 1 free upkeep unit, and
  +5% public order from happiness

Naval Academy:

 Level 1: 10% discount on ship training costs, +1 experience for ships with
 cannons recruited here.

 Level 2: 20% discount on ship training costs, +1 experience for ships with
 cannons recruited here.

Portugal's units are almost exactly the same as Spain's, sometimes only having
a different name (Aventuros vs. Tercio Pikemen, for example). They also have
Dismounted Portugese Knights (21 Attack, 13 Defence), and Portugese
Arquebusiers are better than Spanish ones (they also get Musketeers). Strategy
for Portugal will also be identical to Spain - aside from attacking Portugal,
obviously replace that with Spain.

   Medieval II TW  /---------------------------------------------------------o
   -------o--------\                         Scotland                        |
       (000C9)      \--------------------------------------------------------o


Short - Hold 15 regions, Eliminate England

Long - Standard Catholic

Starts with: Edinburgh (capital)

Scotland has access to Libraries at castles. These allow castles to recruit
Spies and Diplomats. They have an upgrade, Academies, that allows you to also
recruit Assassins at castles.


*Scotland has quality infantry. They have good pike units - the Noble Pikemen
unit is possibly the best recruitable anti-cavalry unit in the game (Although
the Swiss and Papal Guards are a little better, and some late mercenary groups
can also lay claim to the title). Scotland also has Noble Swordsmen (basically
Dismounted Chivalric Knights) and Dismounted Feudal Knights.

*Scotland's missile units, however, are sorely lacking. They don't even get
Arquebusiers, and their archers are inferior to England's, and they lack any
crossbow units at all.

*Scotland's artillery is, unlike their missile units, not lacking much. Though
they do not get Basilisks, they do get Serpentines and "Cannons".

*Scotland's cavalry are sorely lacking in variety, but they do get the standard
Feudal Knights. However, they must rely on Hospitaller/Templar Knights for
cavalry to match France, Spain, or the Holy Roman Empire.

Strategy: Scotland starts out in a very weak position. They have a single city
for settlements, which means immediate conquest is a necessity. Your standing
armies can quickly grab York, Inverness, and Dublin with a little bit of help
from you. After that, you should start building up armies in preparation for a
war with England. An alliance with France would also help. If you can take out
England (I've actually seen Scotland do it, as the AI) and conquer all leftover
rebels in Northern France/Germany, you have a choice to make: France, the Holy
Roman Empire, Denmark, or Spain? I'd go with Denmark if France is your ally,
and then go after the HRE and into Northern Italy and Scandinavia. At this
point, you can go after France or Eastern Europe - if France has betrayed your
alliance or been conquered (I've seen this happen as well - Milan did it), then
France is the better choice.

   Medieval II TW  /---------------------------------------------------------o
   -------o--------\                         Denmark                         |
       (00C10)      \--------------------------------------------------------o


Short - Hold 20 Regions, Eliminate HRE

Long - Standard Catholic

Starts with: Arhus (Capital)

Denmark has access to naval academies.

Naval Academy:

 Level 1: 10% discount on ship training costs, +1 experience for ships
 recruited here.

 Level 2: 20% discount on ship training costs, +1 experience for ships
 recruited here.


*Like any good Viking faction, Denmark has excellent infantry. The only thing
they don't have in large numbers are anti-cavalry units, and they do still
have standard Spear Militia, Swordstaff Militia, and Obudshaer. In addition to
Dismounted Feudal and Chivalric Knights, they also have Norse Axemen (Armor
Piercing, 17 Attack, 11 Defence) and Dismounted Huscarls (Armor Piercing, 11
Attack, 15 Defence). Despite all this infantry, the rest of their army is not
lacking either.

*Denmark has average missile units - Norse Archers (7 missile/11 Attack, 16
Defence - so they don't fear melee at all), Crossbow militia, and no muskets,
though they do at least have arquebusiers.

*Denmark lacks the Basilisk, has the Serpentine, has the "Cannon".

*Danish cavalry is quite varied, and very good. The Huscarl is, in melee, the
Feudal Knight's better, and can compete with knightly orders and the Chivalric
Knight because of their armor piercing axes. Their charges, however, are not
quite so strong. For that, you can make use of Denmark's Feudal and Chivalric
Knights. Their most interesting unit is the Norse War Cleric (Armor piercing,
10 attack, and a whopping 19 defence).

Strategy: Sadly, Denmark's military might will prove hard to utilize, as they
start out with naught but a single city. However, there are plenty of nearby
rebels to crush - expand in Northern Germany, Modern Belgium/Netherlands, and
Scandinavia. After that, you'll almost certainly want to take on the HRE and
then push into Italy. If you only take on the HRE, you may not incur the Pope's
wrath at all - the HRE starts out with 3 crosses of favor with the Pope, which
could lead to a quick excommunication for them. After taking Scandinavia,
Germany, and Italy, You can go east or west. Once again, I recommend heading
west to France, Spain, and England. If you conquer all three of those, you'll
probably only need Jerusalem to reach your goal - so I'll leave the strategy
at that.

   Medieval II TW  /---------------------------------------------------------o
   -------o--------\                          Poland                         |
       (00C11)      \--------------------------------------------------------o


Short - Hold 15 Regions, Eliminate Hungary, Eliminate Russia.

Long - Standard Catholic

Poland has access to no special buildings at all, sadly.

Starts with: Halych, Krakow (Capital)


*Poland's infantry is a bit weak, although with time they can match other
factions. They have plenty of anti-cavalry measures, but their infantry (aside
from Woodsmen and Dismounted Polish Nobles) are not designed for offence. If
you were to take on nearby Denmark's infantry with only Poland's infantry, you
would almost certainly be crushed.

*Poland's missile units aren't anything special, either. They lack muskets, but
do have crossbows (not Pavise, though) and Lithuanian Archers - they only have
5 attack, but they can plant stakes.

*Poland lacks the Basilisk, has the Serpentine, has the "Cannon".

*Poland does have strong cavalry. Polish Retainers, Nobles, Knights, and
Bodyguards (not the same as General's bodyguards) can compete with the cavalry
of other factions, and can defeat them rather handily if used properly with
eachother. Polish Nobles are armed with javelins, which they use well and are
armor piercing, so flank enemy knights while your other knights occupy the
enemy and then let your nobles throw javelins into their backs and then attack
from that same angle).

Strategy: There are plenty of Rebel settlements near Poland's initial position.
Obviously, you'll want to conquer those (Try to get Scandinavia too). After
this is done, you could go after Denmark, the HRE, Hungary, the Byzatines...
but I'd recommend heading towards Russia instead. The Byzantines are a very
strong faction to start the game, while Russia is very weak early on. You can
go after the Byzantines after you solidfy your power using Russia. Almost
definitely, Hungary will go to war with you during this, so deal with them if
they force the issue, but don't do it unless you have to. Poland is well placed
to maintain smooth relations with the Pope due to their proximity to Orthodox
and Islamic factions, so there's no need to strain relations with Rome just to
fight other Catholics. Once you finish off the Byzantines, you can head into
Turkey and towards Jerusalem, taking on the Turks and Egypt.

   Medieval II TW  /---------------------------------------------------------o
   -------o--------\                         Hungary                         |
       (00C12)      \--------------------------------------------------------o


Short - Hold 15 regions, eliminate HRE, eliminate Poland

Long - Standard Catholic

Starts With: Bran, Budapest (Capital)

Hungary has access to Libraries at castles. These allow castles to recruit
Spies and Diplomats. They have an upgrade, Academies, that allows you to also
recruit Assassins at castles.


*Hungary has good infantry. They have Dismounted Feudal Knights, Croat Axemen
(15 Attack, 7 Defence - great for taking on spearmen), Pavise Spearmen (an
excellent anti-cavalry option), and Battlefield Assassins (though like many fun
units, there's only 24 of them, so their potential is limited). Hungary's
infantry are more than a match for their neighbor Poland's.

*Hungary has good missile units, as well - they lack Muskets, but they do have
Arquebusiers and Pavise Crossbow Militia. They can also field crossbowmen and
some other (albeit mediocre) archers.

*Hungary has the Basilisk and the Serpentine.

*Hungary has Feudal Knights, Eastern Chivalric Knights, Hussars, Royal
Banderium, and missile cavalry. Their cavalry isn't lacking at all.

Strategy: Your strategy is very similar to Poland's, though you'll probably
want to be much more aggressive against Poland than I recommended they be
against Hungary, since going towards Russia or Rebel settlements will lead to
war with Poland - you might as well get the jump on them. If you're feeling
very confident in your skills as a general, you can even go right after Poland
from the start - they only have two settlements, and you can take the armies
they start with if you play properly and fight well. Either way, you'll want
to snap up as many rebels settlements as possible, and avoid war with the
Byzantines until you can conquer Russia. And, once again, when finished with
the Byzantines, head towards Jerusalem, conquering everything in your path.

   Medieval II TW  /---------------------------------------------------------o
   -------o--------\                     The Byzantine Empire                |
       (00C13)      \--------------------------------------------------------o


Short - Hold 15 Regions, Eliminate The Turks, eliminate Venice

Long - Hold 45 Regions, including Rome, Jerusalem

Starts with: Nicaea, Nicosia, Thessalonic, Corinth, Constantinople (Capital)

The Byzantines have access to Ikonic Art and Sanitation.

Ikonic Art:

 Level 1: +5% Public Health, 50% increase to Orthodox Church's conversion rate.

 Level 2: +10% Public Health, 100% increase to Orthodox Church's conversion


 Level 1: Requires Market, +10% Public Health, +.5% Population Growth.

 Level 2: Requires Great Market, +20% Public Health, +1% Population Growth.


*The Byzantines have some very good infantry. Dismounted Latinkon are basically
the Catholics' Dismounted Knights, and the Varangian Guard (Armor Piercing, 20
Attack, 15 Defence) are excellent top level infantry. Dismounted Byzantine
Lancers and Byzantine Infantry are also good infantry.

*The Byzantines are utterly lacking in missile units. They have no gunpowder at
all, nor do they have Crossbows. Trebizond and Byzantine Guard archers are good
missile units, but every other faction can match them.

*Byzantine artillery is even more lacking than their missile units. They only
have Ballistas, Catapults, Trebuchets, and Bombards - nothing more. As time
goes on, your enemies are going to exceed you unless you eliminate/impoverish
them all before gunpowder (very unlikely, and probably impossible - you
certainly can't stop the Mongols and Timurids from having better technology
than you).

*Byzantine cavalry is very strong, thankfully. They have good mounted archers,
though they're harder to get access to than The Turk's mounted archers or
Egypt's Mamluk Archers. However, their Latinkon and Kataphractoi cavalry units
are high quality heavy cavalry, though European Chivalric Knights and Egyptian
Royal Mamluks are stronger.

Strategy: The Byzantine Empire is hardly an empire anymore. The days of being
The Roman Empire's equals ended centuries ago. It buckled under its own weight
and that of the plague. However, all hope is not lost - most of it is, though.
You have the Turks to the east, Egypt to the South, and Catholics to the west.
You'll have to tread lightly - an alliance with the Pope could save your dying
empire, or at least make it easier to rebuild. Expand northward, towards the
initially weak Russians - if let alone, they will come to dominate you with
their much more modern armies. After Russia, you'll definitely want to go after
The Turks (if you didn't start with them during your Russian campaign) and
follow with Egypt. After that, Venice and Hungary are your best options. If you
still need settlements, you go to war with Poland or expand your borders in
Africa, The Middle East, and the Caspian Sea area (which you should capture
during your war with Russia). Do whatever you can to get 44+ settlements and
Jerusalem, then assemble an army (with Trebuchets/Bombards - this is not
negotiable) and blitz Rome to finish the Long goal (the short goal is easy).

   Medieval II TW  /---------------------------------------------------------o
   -------o--------\                          Russia                         |
       (00C14)      \--------------------------------------------------------o


Short - Hold 15 Regions, Eliminate Poland, eliminate Hungary

Long - Hold 45 Regions, Including Constantinople, Jerusalem

Starts With: Novgorod (Capital)

Russia has access to Ikonic Art.

Ikonic Art:

 Level 1: +5% Public Health, 50% increase to Orthodox Church's conversion rate.

 Level 2: +10% Public Health, 100% increase to Orthodox Church's conversion


*Early on, Russia's infantry is lacking. You'll basically have to use Spear
Militia and mercenaries for infantry until you gain access to Woodsmen,
Dismounted Druzinha, Dismounted Boyar Sons, and Berdiche Axemen. Although good
infantry (all are Armor Piercing, Dismounted units have 11 Attack/15 Defence,
Berdiche 17 Attack/9 Defence), they are not great on defence. Their armor
piercing weapons can allow them to hold their own against the Catholic Knights
and Byzantine Latinkon, but don't expect any crushing victories if you leave
your infantry unsupported.

*Fortunately, Russia's missile units can support their infantry well. They have
Crossbow militia and archer militias for early support, but as the years go by,
your missile units will improve even more. Dismounted Dvor have 11 missile
attack (in melee, they have 11 AP attack) and 15 defence, making them excellent
missile units. However, it is Russia's Cossack Musketeers that form their
greatest missile threat. They have 17 attack - more than enough to kill any foe
you point them at. They also have 9 defence (all of it skill, though, so avoid
other missile units), and 12 melee attack, making them able to hold their own
should they get stuck in a melee. Cossack Musketeers are Russia's best unit,
and one the best gun units in the game (only The Turks' Janissary Musketeers
are better, and that is only from their superior melee attack and defence - the
two tie in missile attack).

*Russia has the Basilisk, but lacks the Serpentine.

*Russia's cavalry is very capable as well. Kazaks and Boyar Sons make fine
missile cavalry, and Boyar Sons are capable in melee, with 9 AP Attack and 14
Defence. Druzinha are your best charging option (aside from Generals' Bodyguard
units), and Dvor cavalry are excellent melee units as well - Alt + Right Click
will order them into melee (be sure to turn off their skirmish mode). The Tsars
Guard unit is another fantastic unit in Russia's army, though it is rather hard
to access - still, it's awesome.

Strategy: Sadly, despite all its military potential, Russia starts off with but
a single city (noticing a pattern?). However, there are plenty of Rebels near
Novgorod. Secure the surrounding area, push towards Poland, Hungary, and the
Byzantines, and conquer Scandinavia (Helsinki first - it can be accessed by
land). Russia will need a lot priests, since most of the lands you're going to
conquer will be Pagan or Catholic. From Scandinavia, you could go for Denmark
(if they're weak, do it), the HRE, or even Great Britain and Ireland. However,
this will stretch your empire too thinly in my eyes, so turning south towards
the Byzantines is a better idea, especially since you'll be needing to conquer
Constantinople and Jerusalem anyway. Storm Turkey and Egypt after dispatching
the Byzantines - you can easily enter Turkish lands by crossing both the
Caucasus Mountains and the straits of Bosporus, allowing you to divide their
armies and lands for an easier war. By the time you reach Jerusalem, you should
be at or near the 45 regions goal - if not, invade Poland and, if needed, the
HRE or Hungary.

   Medieval II TW  /---------------------------------------------------------o
   -------o--------\                        The Turks                        |
       (00C15)      \--------------------------------------------------------o


Short - Hold 20 Regions, Eliminate The Byzantine Empire

Long - Hold 45 Regions, Including Constantinople, Jerusalem

The Turks have access to Race Tracks and Hospitals (Both city-only).

Race Tracks:

 Level 1: +5% Public Order from happiness, recruit cavalry, able to hold races
 (monthly and daily races cost money, increase public order).

 Level 2: +10% Public Order from happiness, recruit cavalry, able to hold races
 (monthly and daily races cost money, increase public order).


 Level 1: +10% Public Health, -20% unit retraining cost

 Level 2: +20% Public Health, -40% unit retraining cost


*The Turks have mediocre infantry for the early and middle parts of the game,
but later on they do gain access to the Dismounted Sipahi Lancers and Heavy
Janissary Infantry. Though techically a missile unit, the Ottoman Infantry unit
is also good for melee, as well.

*The Turks have great missile units, which helps make up for their lack of good
melee infantry. Turkish archers are their basic missile units, and have good
stats (7 attack, 10 defence) and very long range. Later on, Ottoman infantry
and then Janissary Musketeers (excellent units) will provide even more missile

*The Turks lack the Serpentine and the Basilisk - no matter, since they have
access to the Monster Bombard (which has the same range as the Basilisk, and
3 times the firepower per shot, though it reloads more slowly and has half as
many cannon per unit, so their power is probably the same, more or less).
However, the Monster Bombard can damage a wall to the point of crumbling (if
not punching a hole in it) in one shot, allowing you to make short work of both
defences and defenders on walls.

*The Turks have good cavalry. Most of their low level cavalry are missile
cavalry, but the Sipahi Lancer unit is more like European cavalry and fills a
role similar to the European Feudal Knight's. Later on, the Turks can use the
excellent Quapukulu unit (13 Attack, +6 charge bonus, 18 defence, 13 Armor
Piercing attack with melee weapon), which is one of the top cavalry units in
the game - but it's certainly not easy to access, so don't expect to use it

Strategy: The Turks start out with very divided lands. Your first task is to
unite your lands in Asia Minor and the Caucasus Mountains area. After that, you
should head south towards Egypt, unless the Byzantines force the issue. Once
you deal with either Egypt or the Byzantines, take out the other. Then solidify
your control over the Greek world and the Middle East. By this time, you should
be getting ready for the Mongols, since you're basically guaranteed to end up
at war with them given your position. See the section on the Mongols for what
help I can offer against them. The Timurids will arrive in your lands as well,
so prepare for them as well (though you can use cannons and guns against them).
Russia is your next logical choice once you dispatch the hordes. Hopefully, you
can avoid war with the Catholics via an alliance with the Pope - the last thing
you'll ever want to deal with is Catholics on Crusade AND the ravaging Mongol
hordes/Timurid hordes. Once you deal with your fellow Muslims and the Orthodox
factions, you can go after Poland and Hungary if you need their lands to round
out your settlement count.

   Medieval II TW  /---------------------------------------------------------o
   -------o--------\                          Egypt                          |
       (00C16)      \--------------------------------------------------------o


Short - Hold 15 Regions, Eliminate The Moors, Eliminate The Turks

Long - Hold 45 Regions, Including Constantinople, Jerusalem

Egypt has access to Race Tracks and Hospitals (Both city-only).

Race Tracks:

 Level 1: +5% Public Order from happiness, recruit cavalry, able to hold races
 (monthly and daily races cost money, increase public order).

 Level 2: +10% Public Order from happiness, recruit cavalry, able to hold races
 (monthly and daily races cost money, increase public order).


 Level 1: +10% Public Health, -20% unit retraining cost

 Level 2: +20% Public Health, -40% unit retraining cost


*Egypt's infantry is capable on defence, but only their elite Tarbardariyya
(Armor Piercing 20 Attack, 11 Defence) is a significant offensive threat.
However, Egypt's spear units can hold the line well enough to let you make use
of Egypt's strong cavalry.

*Egypt's missile units are nothing special. The Desert Archers unit makes a
good defence for settlements with its very long range missiles, 7 attack, and
low requirements for recruitment. The Sudanese Gunners are superior to European
Arquebusiers, though inferior to Musketeers.

*Egypt has the "Cannon" over the Culverin, but lacks the Serpentine and the

*Egypt's cavalry, specifically the three Mamluk units, are its strength. Royal
Mamluks are phenomenal cavalry, though getting them is difficult. Mamluks and
Mamluk Archers, however, are easy to recruit (race tracks allow Mamluk Archers
even at cities) and great units. Mamluks are like Feudal Knights, but with
Armor Piercing attacks thanks to their maces, making them more than a match for
the Europeans' cavalry. Mamluk archers are capable at both range and in melee,
and make great support for your Mamluks. Mamluks and Mamluk Archers can form
the bulk of your entire army, and you'll never really be lacking, except when
it comes to seieges (so throw in some cannons or infantry).

Strategy: Solidify your power in Eastern Africa and the Middle East, then head
north and take the Turks' lands. After that, turn your attention towards the
Byzantine Empire. Once they're dispatched, take out the Moors. You can then do
one of several things: Take over Spain (not recommended, but I'm quite certain
that it can be done - I did it, but it was a pain), take over Italy, or take
over Hungary/Venice and Russia. I'd recommend the last option, but all are
certainly possible.

   Medieval II TW  /---------------------------------------------------------o
   -------o--------\                       The Moors                         |
       (00C17)      \--------------------------------------------------------o


Short - Hold 15 Regions, Eliminate Spain, eliminate Portugal

Long - Hold 45 Regions, including Toledo, Jerusalem

The Moors have access to Race Tracks and Hospitals (Both city-only), and
caravan stops at castles.

Race Tracks:

 Level 1: +5% Public Order from happiness, recruit cavalry, able to hold races
 (monthly and daily races cost money, increase public order).

 Level 2: +10% Public Order from happiness, recruit cavalry, able to hold races
 (monthly and daily races cost money, increase public order).


 Level 1: +10% Public Health, -20% unit retraining cost

 Level 2: +20% Public Health, -40% unit retraining cost

Caravan Stops:

 Level 1: Increase in trade, can recruit Taureg Camel Spearmen (4)

 Level 2: Increase in trade, can recruit Taureg Camel Spearmen (4)


*Unlike their fellow Muslim factions, the Moors have very good infantry. They
have a large variety of spearmen, though none are too amazing, but their real
strength in infantry comes from their Urban Militia (available at cities, 11
Attack, 18 Defence) and Dismounted Christian Guard (16 Attack, 22 Defence),
which allow The Moors to field infantry that can compete with, or in the case
of the Dismounted Christian Guard, defeat European knights.

*The Moors also have good missile units. They have Middle Eastern Peasant
Crossbowmen, whose attack matches that of European Pavise Crossbowmen (though
their defence and range don't measure up), and they also have the Desert
Archers unit (very long range, readily available, great for settlement defence)
that Egypt has. They also have the excellent Camel Gunners, who have range
equal to that of Musketeers, but with far more mobility (though they are by no
means cheap or easy to recruit).

*The Moors have the "Cannon" over the Culverin, but lack the Serpentine and the

*Moorish cavalry is also strong. They have a variety of missile cavalry, but
also have good melee/charging cavalry, as well. Taureg Camel Spearmen make good
attack cavalry, though their defence is lacking. However, Granadine Lancers and
Christian Guard units can match the European knights. The aforementioned Camel
Gunners will also be very useful due to their excellent range, high power, and
good mobility.

Strategy: The first moves of the Moors are obvious - conquer and convert the
Iberian Peninsula. This means taking out Spain and Portugal. Once that deed is
done, expand your power in Africa, and prepare for war with France... then go
through with the plans, obviously. If you wish to, you can try to stop the war
with France once you've taken Southern France, allowing yourself to focus on
the more profitable Italy. Once your European wars are done, or when you have
a spare general, call a Jihad for Jerusalem (assuming you can - Egypt will
probably have it) and then go after Egypt. If you still need settlements, take
Greece and the rest of the Byzantine Empire or Asia Minor, going in Germany or
Hungary/Poland if needed, as well.

|                          Frequently Asked Questions                (000D0) |

Q: What does "Increase in tradeable goods" mean?

A: It means that trade revenue will increase.

Q: How do I make cavalry charge?

A: Make sure they're fairly close to each other, and double click on your
target. You may have to hold Alt as you do it to force your cavalry to use
their lances. If they're charging with swords, it's a waste. Call them off and
set the charge up properly.

Q: How do I plant stakes?

A: Stakes can only be planted during battle setup, and only elite archers can
even use them at all. Just press the special ability button in the control
circle on the bottom-right of the screen.

Q: What determines which general is govenor of a settlement?

A: It is not piety as some (myself included) have stated. I am 100% certain
that it is not piety. I would guess it's whoever the game feels is the best
leader - perhaps based purely on chivalry/dread, or on who is best for the city
overall (which chivalry/dread would play a large role in).

Q: How do I open the cheat menu?

A: It depends upon where you are. USA users use the tilde (~) key. UK users use
' or @, while Scandinavians use o with an umlaut. Not sure about anyone else.

Q: Does this work on Windows Vista?

A: Yes.

Q: How do I see what a building does?

A: Open the Building Browser. When examining a settlement, it's the button with
a magnifying glass. After that, you can click on the building type you want,
and right click on the level you want to see what it does. Note that some
buildings won't be there at all, as gunpowder and the New World have to be
discovered first.

Q: Why do my navies refuse to merge?

A: They may be out of movement points. However, more likely, you moved an
admiral with 1+ Command into another admiral. Admirals with 1+ Command are
egomaniacs and refuse to give up command to another admiral. If the other has
0 command, you can just force him to join the other admiral. However, if both
have command, then you'll have to just deal with it - why admirals can get away
with defying an absolute ruler, I am not certain. However, if the whiny admiral
in question has multiple ships, you can take all of them but his weakest one
and add them to the other navy, essentially merging the two navies. Further,
you could send the whiny admiral to command some other group of ships without
1+ command admiral.

Q: What's the difference between "Very long range missiles" and "long range

A: Well... their range. See the FAUST for more specific range listings.

Q: What do those rankings like "Production" and "Financial" mean?

A: Military indicates who has the strongest military (not quite sure if it's
based solely on numbers or if quality is taken into account - after all, 2,000
peasants would still be annihilated by 1,000 mounted knights). Population is
the total number of citizens. Financial is purely cash on hand. Production is
how many buildings you make in a given turn. Overall is a combination of all
the factors. 

Q: How do I unlock other factions?

A: Aside from England, France, Spain, the HRE, and Venice, you'll need to
either eliminate them or edit this file:

 C:\Program Files\SEGA\Medieval II Total War\data\world\maps\campaign

And put the faction(s) you want into the playable section. Again, don't put the
Papal States, Aztecs, Mongols, or Timurids there and try to play as them. If
for some reason you installed the files somewhere else, look there instead of
in Program Files.

Q: In Rome: Total War, you could view a city outside of battle mode. Is this
option available in Medieval II?

A: No.

Q: Do Vassal factions' lands count towards your own for the territories goals 
of the campaign mode?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you plan to write a FAQ for Kingdoms? Can you help me with Kingdoms?

A: No, I do not own Kingdoms. I have the money for it, but I refuse to buy it
because CA opted to include SecuROM as a copy protection scheme, and I am
opposed to SecuROM's heavy-handed, loyalty punishing methods. Also, my DVD
drive is busted.

Q: Can I go beyond the regular turn limit?

A: Yes, by editing the game files or just using a mod. I'd recommend a mod,
as it can also add other features, and the vanilla game isn't that good,
but to each his own. I'm not sure which file you have to edit, but there
is a links section for a reason.

Q: What siege weapons can be used inside the cities/castles wall for firing
at enemies outside of the walls?

A: To my knowledge, only the trebuchet and mortar will be able to fire in such
a situation.

|                              Version History                       (000E0) |

Version 0.10 - (04 July 2007) - Sections A, D, E, F, and G ready for 1.00
Version 0.60 - (09 July 2007) - Sections B, C2-C5 ready for 1.00 (First Upload)
Version 0.70 - (10 July 2007) - Sections C6-C8 ready for 1.00
Version 0.80 - (11 July 2007) - Sections C9-C11 ready for 1.00, other additions
Version 0.90 - (12 July 2007) - Sections C12-C14 ready for 1.00, other stuff
Version 1.00 - (15 July 2007) - Section C complete, updates when I have stuff
Version 1.01 - (16 July 2007) - Spelling fixes, Clarifications
Version 1.02 - (18 July 2007) - More Crusade/Jihad information
Version 1.10 - (25 July 2007) - Diplomacy updates, 00B1c added (Controls)
Version 1.11 - (15 Aug  2007) - New Papacy Ideas, new FAQs, new diplomacy info
Version 1.12 - (17 Aug  2007) - Corrections, new Mongol ideas, new Guild info
Version 1.13 - (12 Sep  2007) - New e-mail, updated Thanks, new FAQ
Version 1.14 - (15 Sep  2007) - New Mongol idea, new FAQ, Traits update
Version 1.15 - (06 Oct  2007) - Cantabrian Circle Correction
Version 1.16 - (07 Jan  2008) - New battlefield tactic, FAQ edit
Version 1.17 - (19 Feb  2008) - New FAQs, contact/legal & history edits
Version 1.18 - (16 May  2008) - Minor clerical update
Version 1.19 - (30 Aug  2008) - Minor corrections

|                               Contact/Legal                        (000F0) |

This entire document is Copyright 2007-2008 Jeffrey McGaffigan. All trademarks
are property of their respective owners. No section of this guide can be used
without my permission. This includes, but is not limited to posting on your
website, making links to my guide, including parts of my guide in your own,
or making reference to any material contained within.

(Thanks to Michael Sarich for this Copyright)

This walkthrough was written solely to be hosted at www.gamefaqs.com. No other
websites may host it, and I will not give permission, so don't bother e-mailing
me to ask for hosting permission.

Questions, corrections, comments, and all other forms of feedback are welcome
as well. Corrections are especially appreciated. Be sure to have patience and a
good topic line, as well. Lastly, don't send me questions asking to
specifically help you. I, nor any other reasonable FAQ writer, would ever do

My e-mail: faqiynx AT gmail DOT com - You can also PM me on GameFAQs!

You can ignore the { and } characters, they're just there for e-mail address
obfuscation to prevent spam (of which I get plenty, and which Gmail filters
very well).

|                               Credits/Thanks                       (000G0) |

Anyone who sent in questions, comments, or information.

BrandyBarrel, for the FAUST

Tiago, for the Foxit Reader tip

A I e x, for helping in ways he's not aware of (formatting), and for writing
top-notch FAQs from which I drew some tips on writing

The GameFAQs administrators (CJayC, SBAllen), for starting and keeping
GameFAQs running

The Creative Assembly, for making the Total War series

You, for reading this FAQ

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