Strategy Guide - Guide for Empire: Total War
Scroll down to read our guide named "Strategy Guide" for Empire: Total War on PC (PC), or click the above links for more cheats.
Empire: Total War Strategy guide By AHW aka Blood Rage aka PEDEG 2nd July 2011 ----------------------------------------------------------------- Table of contents 1. Introduction 2. Campaign Strategy 2.1 General Strategy 2.2 Development 2.3 Expansion 3. Battle Overview 3.1 Land Battles 3.2 Naval Battles 4. Battle tactics 4.1 Land battles 4.2 Naval battles 5. Agents 5.1 Scholars 5.2 Assassins 5.3 Religious agents 6. Technology 7. Closing ----------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Introduction =============== I got into ETW late because I only got my new pc in 2011. Anyway I'm back into my usual cheap tricks in the Total War series. This guide is only for single player campaign as multiplayer human performance varies. All campaigns are played on very hard. All battle settings are Hard and Very Hard. The easiest campaign is Maratha, very rich, easily defensible and also the dullest. Maratha has boring units. The most challenging is the Ottoman Empire, poor lands, too many fronts, poor infrastructure and too many enemies. Nevertheless once I mastered some cheap tricks it is really rather smooth sailing but I must add that there was so many battles per turn in the first 50 turns that one turn can take over 2 hours. I won't go into technical details of the game as I'm not really bothered. My interest is in beating the campaigns. 2. Campaign Strategy ==================== 2.1 General strategy Money ----- No money no talk. There are many factors to consider in keeping a healthy income. Sea trade is king but you need to patrol your sea control. I tend to control as many trade routes from every trading theatre. Get in there first and hold it even if you do not have trade ships. You will also need to be very good with your naval battles which I will explain the cheap way below. Then there is tax income. The more you upgrade, the more income but pay attention to return of investment for example low tier income buildings usually make return of investment in 10 turns while higher tier takes more. So given a choice of upgrading up a few, I would go for upgrading more low tier ones. Raiding trade routes are nice. The more ships you use the more you gain. However the gain is only as big as how much they have. You can check this info by placing the cursor on the trade route. I don't depend on this income because I control most trade routes thus making the gains low. Also note that blockading a port of damaging it does not give you raiding income. Even if money is tight, especially at the start of very hard campaign, don't worry. To get more money, go conquering and leave cheap defenders at home. Some nations start in very rich territories like France, England, Russia and India. Ottoman surprisingly has a very poor capital. Mines give good income. To reduce cost you need cost effective military units. Guess which unit is the most cost effective? Artillery! Of course artillery can't go solo but it's a great addition to the standard infantry heavy army. But look at the low cost, upkeep and killing power! Artillery consistently have the highest kills in battles, the most one unit killed was an 18 lber foot artillery at 460+ kills. Nice. Development ----------- Plan your development early to ensure growth, happiness and tech. Too many schools and you will reduce income while making people unhappy. A place for a school needs at least 1-2 taverns/gardens with or without 1 religious building. Make sure the territory has enough towns to have them. Expansion --------- Anywhere really but preferably where you can stifle your enemy and capture rich lands. So no rush to invade the interior of Russia or North Africa. India is very rich and easy to keep happy. The Americas provide loads of trade items but only develops later in the game as the towns mature. 3. Battle Overview ================== 3.1 Land battles ---------------- 3.1.1 General strategy 3.1.1.a. Geography Take your time placing your units before a fight. Topography is vital in ETW as most projectiles shoot in a straight line. So placing your troops too far back up a cliff will cause them to shoot into the ground of the enemy under the cliff. But the most important thing about the lay of the land is for artillery. 3.1.1.b. Weather Not too bothered about this as they still shoot. 3.1.1.c. Land features Walls, buildings, trees, etc all can be made used of. You can hide soldiers behind a wall but I don't recommend it because the walls seldom run in the direction you want, the AI will just charge in and it negates fire by rank. Placing projectile infantry in buildings is of somewhat use. It provides elevation and thus increased range. It provides cover but take note different buildings provide different degree of cover. Cavalry can't attack it (Yup there was a cavalry stack with 1 fixed artillery assaulting a fort-less city so I put all the citizen firelocks in buildings and easily won). The drawback with buildings is that it is easily taken down by artillery, it reduces effectiveness the unit's volley and highly susceptible to melee infantry. The AI will also attempt to rush into occupied buildings after they breach your walls and depending on your tactics this can be a good thing because if you melee rush your troops while the enemy unit just about enters you get them in a vulnerable stretched position. Trees are a pain. Sure nice to hide in woods but it provides projectile cover blocking some projectiles. Trees also block artillery shots including mortars which if you use carcass or quicklime shots you will kill troops in front of the tree, which are usually your own. 3.1.2 Land units Now it gets more interesting. I must stress my love for artillery which are the battle winners. The AI does not deal with artillery well. Anyway let's start with the simplest. 3.1.2.a Melee infantry There are some nice melee infantry but they are mostly superseded by projectiles. Nevertheless they have their uses. You can still use mass melee such as the sikh warriors or goorkhas and win but you will suffer heavy losses and it's like a one battle hit and then you need to go hide to recover your effectiveness. The times I use melee unit is when I cannot get good projectile infantry. Combining melee unit with low tier projectile unit is more effective then using all low tier projectile. The melee unit can be used to distract enemy projectiles and using your cheap prjectiles to shoot them in the back. What matters most is numbers. Small number melee units are useless. Give me a Musellim any time over Bashi-Bazouks. Generally I don't use melee infantry much except as garrison where they are more effective in tight areas where you can easily outflank the enemy. 3.1.2.b Projectile infantry These are musket militia, line infantry, grenadiers and riflemen; the mainstay units. Range is important, the longer the better, but numbers play a bigger part, the larger the volley the deadlier. Nothing much to say about them as they are very self-explanatory. 3.1.2.c Melee and projectile cavalry Cavalry is a nice addition to any army but not easy to use. It's about finding a gap and sending them rushing in. They fall too easily to artillery and bullets due to them being easier to hit due to the man and horse combined size. The AI uses them quite effectively as they try for the flanks first. I would personally go for projectile cavalry over melee cavalry as the projectile cavalry can melee effectively. There was a one on one Deli Horseman vs Regiment of Horse; the Deli fired a volley while the RoH charged in and killed about a quarter and then I sent the Deli to melee, easily killed the RoH. Projectile cavalry is better at taking out artillery as well. Give off a volley then charge in. It makes the engagement time shorter and free up your unit faster. Projectile cavalry is also good for moving them to quickly plug a gap anywhere on the map. 3.1.2.c Artillery I think they are the most useful unit type. I lug them everywhere I go. The most important tech to have is the canister shot and I go to great pains to quickly trade it from the Ottomans early on. Canister shot makes the day in field battles and sieges. It's cheap kills galore. Howitzers are my second fav unit in the game once I get carcass shot. They are the units of mass killing in siege assaults. It's 1.6k of your against 6k of siege defenders? No problem with quicklime. You see all the soldiers on the wall? Well, burn them all! You'd be amazed at how fast it reduces wall defenders. I'll explain how to use artillery later. 3.2 Naval battles ----------------- 3.2.1 General Strategy The strategy is simple - get more of your shots into the enemy ships than they can get into yours. I always try to cripple the enemy ships first by going for their sails. Then I can run circles around them. Watch the wind direction too. If you want to take down sails faster then the enemy needs to have full sails up so they need to go with the wind. However this makes them more dangerous as they can catch up with you. 3.2.2 Naval units The main trait to look out for the speed and meneuverability for your choice of ship. Ideally you should go for a ship that can win against multiple enemy ships and I would recommend a fifth rate. Why a fifth rate? Because you often start with one and that it has a good balance of fire power, hull strength, speed and meneuverability. A sloop has the best speed but 2 volleys from a sixth rate and higher can sink it. A brig due to it's square rig makes it's sails highly vulnerable where one volley from a fifth rate may take out all it's sails. Bomb ketch is a special class - the annoying class. It is very effective in taking out much larger ships. Be very vary if the enemy has it and send your fastest ship to kill it quick. Fortunately it tends to blow up quite easily. Beware the guns on galleons and galleys. They have fewer cannons but they are very powerful cannons. 4. Battle tactics ================= 4.1 Land battles ---------------- My favaourite bit. Cheap tricks galore. My ideal stack has 1 general, 2 projectile cavalry, 3 foot cannons, 2 howitzers, 2 specialist infantry (grenadiers or long range infantry) and the rest line infantry. 4.1.1 Open field battles ------------------------ If you have artillery, the AI will often come towards you on your offence and defence. I place my units out of range from the enemy cannons so that if they have fixed artillery, they become useless and if they have mobile artillery I force them to move them as hitting them while in mobile form is easier and more effective. I place the cannon pieces in the front with 1 or 2 line infantry 3 men deep between each cannon unit. This is to ensure some overlapping cannon cover. Make sure the cannons jut out a bit from the infantry line so that it has a wide angle of fire. The location of placement depends on whether the cannons can have a clean shot forwards. So preferably facing downhill, cannons not blocked by trees, not facing any mounds or hills and you get what I'm getting at. Howitzers go behind the line. Projectile cavalry can be placed overlapping the cannons' horses or placed in the flanks. The specialist infantry tends to go in the flanks, hidden and offer an angle of fire facing the flanks to cover enemy cavalry. When battle starts I use the cannons to pick out enemy artillery and cavalry. Cavalry is the easiest unit to kill with artillery. The standard shot don't do well against infantry so stick with the cavalry. Let the howitzers free to rain death on infantry. Once the enemy gets closer but before they get into the canister shot range, cease firing and change artillery shot to canister shot. Fire when they get in range. From then on mainly manage the cannons pick on the targets that will give you the highest yield such as a unit that shows its flank down the barrel. Manage your infantry as needs be. If the AI charge the artillery, use the infantry at the sides of the cannons to melee in and the enemy unit often rout quickly as you hit them from both sides. Also pull out the artillerymen from melee and set them back to the cannons when it is clear. Another considerations include placing your battle line in such a way that the AI cannons will have to face a hill or obstacle to fire at you. The AI always set their artillery in their own flanks. 4.1.2 Siege defence with walls ------------------------------ The most important unit is the cannon. Have at least one but preferably 2 in small fort. You need 2 or more for larger forts. Place them to cover the 3 most likely entrances the AI will come in from. If your units can plant horse barriers, place them at behind the gates or where you feel the enemy will break your walls. I get some firelocks on the walls to fire cannons for cheap shots but as soon as the enemy units reach the wall, I get everyone down to set up defensive position based around the cannons. The AI's reaction is to send out unit up the wall to capture the gates and then all other units will rush through the gates. From here it's canister shot galore as the enemy enters the fort. Easy. This also means that you can easily use cheap units to defend easily. For example my infantry mainstay in defending cities as Ottoman was a mix of Musellims, Semenys and 2 Azzars; each of them able to plant barriers. 4.1.3 Siege assault against walls --------------------------------- This is slightly more complex as it is a 4 stage process. You will need mobile artillery of at least 2 cannon units and 2 howitzers. Start of by placing all your units in a diagnonal corner from the fort to avoid any cannon fire. No need any formation as the first stage is to get your troops into position in a closer diagonal corner of the fort. Illustration for SW side: WWWWWWWWWWW W W W = wall W W W FORT W W W W W WWWWWWWWWWW ++++\ End + Here + in SW + corner of the fort +++++ ++++ Start Here in the SW corner of the map Notice the final inverted L shaped formation to end up in closer the fort? This avoids all wall cannons even against star forts because the AI never place the troops on the right cannons. Before you move your troops from the start, you have to get rid of any enemy artillery placed outside their fort which can fire at your troops' path. This is where cavalry cones in handy. The final formation of the first stage should have a mini line of 3 line infantry with 2 cannons between them facing the corner of the fort at a distance where the line infantry's musket range is just short of the wall. The flanks are made up of line infantry set up as the two long arms of the L shape. Watch out for enemy cavalry that rushes out to foil this. I usually set the infantry to run into place as the enemy cavalry's aim is to rush for the cannons but if your infantry is in place the cavalry don't stand a chance. Once in place, stage 2 begins with the cannons firing into the walls. Howitzers which are placed behind the lines would then rain death on the troops on the walls with carcass or quicklime. Standard howitzer shots are of not much use. Even if the carcass or quicklime shots hit the wall but misses the soldiers, it doesn't matter because the spread of fire and quicklime will kill the soldiers. Often I could kill more than half of the troops on the wall before I can bring down any section of the wall. You may also want to delay taking the walls down if you want to kill off more soldiers on the walls. I would go for a hole in the wall on each side. So if you come from the Southwest side, make a hole each in the West and South walls. Switch to canister shot if any enemy unit rushes out and blow them away. Now for stage 3 which is the transformation of formation from: W W W = wall W W --breaches W | W | WWW WWWWWW ++++++\ C Stage 1 \ form- C ation \ + + C = cannons+ + + to W W W = wall + W + W C = cannon C + W H = howitzers + W ++ WWW WWWWWW + C++C+++ H H (third cannon can go into the corner such as the southern line above) Remember the key here is to avoid getting shot at by wall cannons. Make sure you clear the walls either with howitzers or damage it to over 50%. You need to move the cannons to face the breaches. The AI usually places units behind the breaches which you can hit with canister shot if you place your cannons close enough. Fire canister shots into the breach and the AI will rush out only to be mowed down by your cannons and line infantry. Howitzers should be placed behind the line so on any side so that it can fire into the center of the fort. You will quickly kill most of the enemy without sending any of your troops into the fort. If they stop coming out, just use howitzer shots on them. If you don't have howitzer, send in a sacrifical unit that stir some trouble then pull out when you draw their attention. Stage 4 is the closing to finally capture the city. If the enemy has no reinforcements you would have killed off more than 90% of their troops if you carry out stage 1 to 3 correctly. Reinforcements delay your eventual entry and sometimes time can run out before you thin them out enough. In this situation, when you are ready to capture the city, you need to prevent any more enemy reinforcements from entering the fort. To do this, send a unit to climb the wall and capture the gates. Once you capture the gates the reinforcements can't enter through the gates and will have to march through any breach in the wall which hopefully will be the breach that you have control of. Always keep the unit on the wall to control the gates. Send in additional troops to capture the city which has very weak defenders by now. This strategy allows you to capture cities with weaker and less troops. I captured a city garrisoned with a full stack made up mostly of European line infantry using a stack made up to 3 cannons, 9 Isarelys, 2 Semenys and 6 Musellims. I can easily win assaults with 1.5 troops vs 4k+ this way. Siege assault is easier and more predictable then open field battles because the fort layout is fixed. Be wary of enemy mortars which have long range. Thankfully the AI often targets your line infantry leaving your artillery safe. You can bombard the mortars with howitzers carcass or quicklime shots which are effective in killing artillerymen though don't actually damage the artillery pieces. 4.1.4 Killing enemy artillery ----------------------------- Best way to kill it is melee it safely especially if they are in mobile form. The next best way is to fire cannon shots at them while they are in mobile form. In truth AI artillery is usually not much of a problem as long as they are far away and using standard shots. I tend to send cavalry after them after I rout all their other units in an open field battle. But be aware of the best method to approach them. Approach it from a side where you are covered by higher ground so that they will fire into the ground. The make the killing approach pependicular to their front so that you make them only able to use 1 cannon out of their lot as they can't fire into the backs of their other cannons. You can use infantry as well for this approach. The best infantry to use is one which can hide while moving so that you can get really close then send another unit to attract fire from their front so that you can charge in while they are reloading. 4.2 Naval battles ----------------- The best way to win naval battles cheaply is to use 1 ship against up to 4 ships on the attack because against more than 8 ships time may run out before you win. So it's preferably to be on the defensive against many ships as you can continue indefinitely after you win by time out. Thus you can capture all the ships for easy cash. Why not more than one ship? Because this tactic requires all your focus on multiple maneuvers. I recommend using a fifth rate as the lone ship. The battle sequence is about immobilising all the enemy ships then forcing them to surrender. At the start, place your ship as close to the front. Once battle starts, just go head long towards the enemy and set the chain shot. I usually set time to go at max speed as I'm used with the pace. It is easier if the enemy is with the wind as their sails are open. When you get close change your heading and show your broadside to the enemy ship and wait till it gets close. Fire away and then quickly put some distance at their head then turn and give another broadside. Repeat this maneuver of keeping the enemy ships chasing you. You will end you doing S shape movements ahead of the enemy. Take out the sails of one ship at a time. Don't worry if the enemy ship appears to catch up especially the sloops and brigs because you can take out their sails with tight S maneuvers. Or if the sloops and brigs are becoming too much of a nuisance sink them with standard shots, usually 2-3 volleys from a fifth rate is enough to sink each ship. If the enemy ships are sailing against the wind you can still do the same as above only that it takes longer to take out the sails. What you can do here is to keep a distance and sail to the back of their line and harrass the rearmost ship. The enemy would then turn around and presto their sails go up. Once they enemy ships lose their sails, bombard them out of harm's way and they will surrender eventually. Galleons have no rear guns so it's safe to sail right up their rear. Use canister shots if you can as salvage booty goes down with more hull damage. This maneuver is very effective in capturing indiamen and galleons. Use this maneuver early in the game to capture enemy fifth rates to multiply your ships. I created a fleet of second rate just with captured ships. The thing to worry about most is your sails. Damaged sails makes turning slower. Damaged hull I can live with as long as it doesn't leak. Be careful of ships with forward firing guns as they can hit you if you don't keep your distance. Caution when facing galleys and bomb ketch. Galleys can still be captured but you need to use standard shots to take out their guns. Galleys have forward firing guns. They are few but they pack a hard punch. Bomb ketch always accompany other ships and they are a pain. I avoid battle with stacks containing bomb ketch as this maneuver will not work. You need more ships to fight a stack with bomb ketch. As Ottoman I trained only 1 fifth rate but ended up with fifth rates all over the globe hunting pirates, taking out enemy fleets and guarding trade zones. I did capture the persian fifth rate using a sloop trained at Mesopotamia. Biggest win 1 vs 14 ships, largest was second rate, capturing 11 and sinking 3 (sloop and brig). I have also tried using tag team method where I had more than 1 ship. I sent 1 fifth rate to fight first while leaving the rest in the edges. Then when the first ship is damaged, I pull it out and send in another. In most cases I didn't need more than 1 ship but sometimes my first ship get it's sails damaged so I had to pull it out. 5.0 Agents ========== I like agents. They make the game more fun. I use them a lot. 5.1 Scholars Only Western scholars can duel. All scholars can steal tech. I like stealing tech. I do not keep scholars in unis as a Western nation because there are just so many unis nearby to steal from. Stealing tech allows you to have less uni thus less unhappiness. I just concentrate on the main techs such as enlightenment and military techs. I tend to steal most industrial techs. I duel a lot because it is fun to watch. The story is different with Eastern scholars who has to travel long distances to reach the West. So with them I tend to keep them in the unis. Anyway, Eastern nations tend to have the ability to spam unis because they have more large cities and territories that help with maintaining happiness. 5.2 Assassins I mainly use them to assassinate other scholars and religious agents. There are only so few enemy buildings I want to sabotage. 5.3 Religious agents Spread them like a plague. Have assassins to support their spread by killing rivals. 6. Technology ============= I must stress again that artillery technology is vital especially if you are outnumbered and cash strapped. I also invest heavily on enlightenment to boost research time by upgrading unis. More techs = more trading opportunity. I often neglect naval tech as they make little difference to my playing style. The naval tech I prioritise are those that will boost movement and sail speed. I don't even need to train warships so not bothered with upgrading dockyards. I also neglect cavalry tech as they are not very useful past the carbines. The shortened carbines come too late to make a big impact. Playing a Western nation, a large chunk of my tech comes from stealing. Just too easy. The small kingdoms in the middle of Europe often have universities and research enlightenment tech. I usually leave them alone to be my enlightenment tech farms. They usually cannot research any military or industrial techs because they can't build barracks and/or lack towns to build factories. This means they are easy to kill. When I am more able to capture land, my techs come as part of peace settlement. The AI is more likely to dispense with low tech and I gained at most 3 techs in one settlement. Most of my naval tech came from this when I played Ottoman. 7. Closing ========== So far I have played ETW in burst and pause so I haven't played all factions. I have played Maratha (the easiest), England, France, Prussia (3 of then quite easy) and Ottoman (challenging). Please do not reproduce this guide in any other site without prior permission. I can be contacted by email@example.com. Replies will be slow. OK, that's short and sweet. Have fun.