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Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Battles on Christmas Day

Sadly there were battles in history fought on Christmas Day, 25th December, although few from the period covered by Empire Total War.

The ones I have found after extensive research are:

1553 – Battle of Tucapel: Mapuche rebels under Lautaro defeats the Spanish conquistadors and executes the governor of Chile, Pedro de Valdivia

1776 – George Washington and his army cross the Delaware River to attack the Kingdom of Great Britain's Hessian mercenaries in Trenton, New Jersey.

1837 – Battle of Lake Okeechobee: United States forces defeat Seminole Native Americans.

1941 – World War II: Battle of Hong Kong ends, beginning the Japanese Occupation of Hong Kong.

But of course during the World Wars, except for the famous No Man's Land ceasefire, 1914, fighting was going on over Christmas.
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Tuesday, 22 December 2009

France Faction in Napoleon Total War

New information released on the official website about the France faction (who they!) in Napoleon Total War. Shame there's no piccies of troops though!

 The Emperor’s efforts have given France an impressive empire and domination over many neighbours; he is a source of strength. Napoleon has redrawn the map of Europe to suit his own ends. He is also a great weakness, as his treatment of enemies and rivals has not been entirely politic or polite. He has caused offence to nearly everyone, taking not giving, even when he should have been conciliatory. He has managed, through poor diplomacy, to make the British look like attractive allies to many. As a result, the Austrians are waiting for an opportunity to strike back at France for their recent humiliations and losses. The Russians, too, will strike down this new upstart emperor if given a chance, and will they ignore Napoleon’s instructions to ban trade with England? The Prussians, apparently, are content to sit and wait, but for how long? Will they idly sit by if it becomes necessary to extend French power in northern Germany? And then there are the British: always there are the British. That vindictive little island will have to be dealt with at some time.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Coping at the Start of Very Hard Empire Total War Campaigns

The Very Hard difficulty setting is a pretty hard standard in Empire Total War. I found that for Medieval II I could cope pretty well once I learned how to play the game, with the highest difficulty setting - in fact the campaign was quite easy and the AI didn't offer too much of a challenge, it was usually the battles that required more thought.

But in Empire your enemies don't allow you a moments rest or slackness. I must admit that I haven't had a successful Very Hard campaign in Empire yet. My observations though are that to succeed you need to:

  1. Be paranoid about any neighbouring countries who are less than friendly - they are likely to invade quite soon!
  2. Manage expenditure very tightly.
  3. Be very sure of what strategy you are going to adopt - you probably need to play and fail a number of times before you can get this right.
  4. Be brave when accepting battle and make sure you win.
  5. Over-estimate your enemy, but don't be too cautious - probably the hardest ask of all.
Good luck, you'll need it!

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Saturday, 19 December 2009

Wishful Thinking List for Napoleon Total War

This is what I am personally hoping for from Napoleon Total War (but know won't happen!)

  1. Access to all these special offer units to be available for all!
  2. Some sort of command control simulation - i.e. separate corps-level command
  3. Ability to customize individual units more - uniform colours and standards
  4. More smoke on the battlefield so that action is more obscured in a realistic manner
  5. More than 20 units available at a time!

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Friday, 18 December 2009

New Napoleon Total War Video Released

Visit to see the video. It includes some in game footage. Good to see that it has a wide spread of campaigns and battles, Austerlitz, Waterloo and I would assume Borodino as the invasion of Russia is mentioned.

Mass artillery is mentioned as a specific Napoleonic tactic, so maybe this will feature in the new game?

Thursday, 17 December 2009

How to Attack Buildings in Empire Total War

Taking Buildings during Empire Total War battles is really a fairly brutal and simple task, but can be dangerous and cause you high casualties.
There are really only two options:
1. Bombardment: Use artillery to destroy buildings at long-range. At some point the building will catch fire and the enemy troops inside will have to get out. You can then deal with them in the most appropriate way.
2. Frontal Assault: If you don't have artillery on hand, or if you really need to take a building quickly. then assault by decent infantry is the best option. This will mean high casualties and probably requires at least a 2:1 advantage to succeed.
What you really don't want to do is try to shoot it out with muskets. You will find that you cause few casualties to the enemy and no damage to the building.
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Wednesday, 16 December 2009

The Importance of Combined Arms

In Empire Total War, as in historical reality, it is vital to make the most of each element of your

Scissors, represented by the index and middle ...Image via Wikipedia

army in battle - i.e. to co-ordinate the use of infantry, cavalry and artillery as much as possible.

Why is this the case? Well the main reason is that each element has different characteristics and even the strongest units can be defeated if left isolated from adequate support.

What are the different characteristics?


Common strengths are their fire-power, their defensive qualities against frontal attack - even most cavalry suffer if they attack an infantry unit frontally - even if the infantry unit hasn't formed a square.

Weaknesses are their lack of speed - difficult to use them to quickly outflank an enemy, and also they can be picked off by enemy artillery or well-used rifle-armed skirmishers.


Strong in melee in a charge situation and if attacking from flank or rear. The best use of cavalry is either to target artillery if not defended by infantry. However, they tend to die quickly during extended melees and need to withdrawn quickly if their shock effect does not have a rapid impact.

Will suffer in a defensive situation and should be held behind the line in order to keep them out of harm's way until required. A common difference in Empire Total War to earlier periods, is that you might often employ cavalry as wings to your army, this type of deployment is less useful now and can lead to attrition from enemy artillery.


Although average casualties caused by round shot at long-range is not high, if your enemy does not possess decent artillery you have a distinct advantage. Artillery allows you to erode your enemies strength and force him to attack you where you want him to be. At close range, if well protected from quick cavalry charges in flank or rear, artillery can be devastating, with grapeshot defeating most frontal attacks. However, a good position and field defences helps a lot! My advice is to keep units compact and to place each infantry support unit carefully to prevent any enemies getting close enough to melee your artillery.

Combined Arms

It's like a game of paper, scissors, stone. You need all three elements in your army to be able to counter your enemies attacks and to be able to give yourself the best chance of overcoming his defence when you attack.

I'll aim to provide some specific examples in later posts.

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Saturday, 12 December 2009

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Caucasus Provinces OK, but Kiev Threatened

Although my strategy of protecting my southern Russian provinces has worked so far - the Georgians and their mates from Dagestan have been pretty cautious about attacking, I made the mistake of moving my Southern field army to the Don to support these provinces. The sneeky Crimean cossacks then decided to go across the border and rampage through the Ukraine, eventually taking Kiev.

I sent my field army off in pursuit, but not before they managed to assault and take the town. It's amazing how confident the AI is when it comes to city assaults - they always just go for it rather than settling down to a long siege, even if the odds are pretty much 1:1. Luckily they seem much more cautious if you have walls - as I do in my southern provinces.

I have now retaken Kiev, but the bloody Swedes are acting up now and have declared war. So I have a dilemma - who do I actively fight - the Crimean Khanate, or Sweden? I can only really afford a decent army in one theatre of war. So far I have sent a couple of regiments of line infantry to support the northern field army in case we are invaded from Ingria. However, there are still a number of active Crimean forces in the south who I would ideally like to deal with, but that might leave Kiev vulnerable again unless I raise more troops.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Now Playing as Russia: Long Campaign

I have decided on a strategy of fortifying my southern provinces against attack from Georgia and Dagestan. While in the North I agreed to the swap deal with Sweden - at least this prevents war in the short-term and gives me some extra income from trade. But I also now need to fortify and garrison Livonia.

My strategy is to protect my provinces from early incursion and build up two armies to attack the Crimea - I want a 2:1 advantage. I will probably have a smaller cavalry force for raiding and leading the Cossack armies away from my main forces.

Regarding the Economy I will go for some quick wins - such as mines, factories, mills etc to increase income in the short term, and then build up the rural economy to promote growth.

Regarding research the plan is to get some basic military technologies - 12lb cannon, square and then go for Enlightenment stuff to increase my research rate, build a college and then look at economic technologies to build up this area further. Hopefully by then I will have 2 or more schools and colleges going.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Prussia - gain three provinces lose three provinces


The Bavarians have come at me with a vengeance since declaring war on me. It seems that they have been a lot more dangerous and aggressive than the Austrians. The Austrians took West Prussia from me, but since then have been fairly passive, with just an army or two threatening to march on Berlin. However, the Bavarians have taken Dresden in the last year and the Venetians have taken the empty, pillaged Vienna, which I decided I didn't have the resources to garrison. Also the Poles marched across Austrian territory to take Prague - do they have designs on Austria too perhaps?

I am using the 1.5 patch and it seems that the AI so far has been more co-ordinated and aggressive in its actions.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Battle of Rossbach - new Historical Battle for Empire Total War

I played this new battle that comes with the 1.4 patch at the weekend. Much like Fontenoy it seems too easy. I think this is because the quality of the Prussian troops has been put too high. You don't really have to be too clever to win it.

The set-up for the battle is also a bit bizarre - with quite a few large mountains really defining the battlefield, and I am guessing, forcing the enemy AI to act in a certain way. This works as the cavalry try a flanking manoeuvre, which fails, and then the infantry deploy badly in a sort of shaky column, which is quite easy to defeat.

Here's the actual dispositions taken from Wikipedia:

Friday, 2 October 2009

New 1.5 patch for Empire Total War

With the 1.4 patch just out, it's great to hear that there is a 1.5 patch in the works as well! See Mike Simpson's post at the official Total War blog site.

I think it's a shame that there has been so much criticism. I have been playing since they first released Shogun and I think Empire is the best Total War game yet. It's much better than anything comparable on the market at what it does.

If you want historical recreation then go for a worthy but duller game like John Tiller's Battleground series - great games, but take longer to play and less immediate fun to the general gamer.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

New beginning with Prussia

I have just started a new campaign as Prussia. Unfortunately I didn't get to the end of my campaign as France as I bought a new computer recently and didn't transfer the save game files over.

Also the new 1.4 patch is out, so I thought I would start from scratch with this patch installed.

Friday, 24 July 2009

Revolution Baby!

Year: 1718

A couple of battles with the United Provinces and then rebels in Flanders beat me up and kicked me out. Ok not so bad, just need to recover the place.

However, next turn my King dies and the new Queen Victoire I can't hold things together and Revolution breaks out. I plump for the sans-culottes, but foolishly I had just built some large and impressive forces up in Paris the turn before - my Drill School having just been constructed. This meant the government forces were much too strong. I still managed to fight a good battle in charge of the Revolutionary army though and nearly won a close fought affair, but it wasn't to be.

Of course my faction had now died off, so this meant I could continue the campaign but only from the turn before back with the ancien regime. This time I decided not to build the government forces. Will see what happens next - will Revolution still happen? Can the people rise up and defeat their oppressors?

Will the new revolutionary army get rid of their white uniforms eventually?

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Defeat for Spain in Flanders

Year: 1717

I seem to be doing well, but badly. My subjects keep threatening to revolt, but my popularity is going up and down like a yo-yo - up when I defeated an invading force from the United Provinces - completely whipped them, and then down again - I guess because of my oppressive taxation policy. Income has risen as - I think because I lost some troops and also started raiding Spain's trade routes - I forgot previously that this could bring income in as well as hurt your enemies - I should try to do a bit more of this.

I would like to sort of push my subjects a bit further to see if they come out in open revolt - just to see what happens. Presumably there is a French Revolution style event that happens and changes the regime - and the flags and uniforms maybe?

On the war front perhaps I should invade Spain - they seem to be preoccupied in North Africa, with the peninsula looking relatively unguarded. My forays into Northern Spain have been met by relatively small enemy forces so far.

Monday, 20 July 2009

Spain Declares War - my oldest Buddy

Year: 1713

Not sure what I did to upset these guys but that went and declared war. More fool they I say - I swiftly invaded a completely unprotected Flanders and after a couple of turns of strong garrisons, no tax and destroying a rebel army, I am pretty much in control.

I am still woefully short of money, but things aren't looking quite as grim as they were.

I should be able to build a drill school next turn. And also go a-raiding into Northern Spain!

Friday, 17 July 2009

I Sold Quebec and Got Jamaica

Year: 2009

I chose autoresolve to make sure I got through the Iroquois attack without crashing! I haven't faced another battle that I wanted to play through yet, so not sure if the crash will happen again!

Even though the income from Jamaica is lower. I decided that this was the right thing to do. Now that Louisiana is gone and a war of expansion in North America is looking difficult in the face of persistent Native American opposition, I decided that this option would be less sapping on my resources. I was definitely spending more on maintaining large forces in Quebec and a lot on trying to develop local military facilities, forts etc. And mostly in vain - the Iroquois are tough opponents.

With Jamaica, given my experience with Great Britain, I get a colony that requires a relatively small garrison and can be developed with plantations to generate some good income.

I can concentrate now on sorting out my Caribbean colonies by supporting them with adequate naval forces to clear the area of pirates and protect important trade routes.

I will maintain Acadia and Newfoundland as long as these aren't overly threatened by invaders - they are OK, but I don't think will ever generate a lot of revenue.

What are my war aims - probably at the moment not the same as those objectives demanded by the Short Campaign. Instead I want to build wealth and develop technology quickly so I am in then a good position to become a dominant power and take the necessary provinces.

However, income and reputation are not looking good at the moment. I am wondering if a quick European war to get another province and increase reputation might be a good idea. I am still at war with Wurtemburg - perhaps another go at them would be a good idea?

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Battle Crash

Year: Summer 1708

I was hoping to have played for about an hour last night, but this was curtailed by two crashes while a battle was about to load. The Iroquois had decided to attack one of the forts that I had recently built in New France to protect my resources. I was looking forward to a fairly close fight - we both had three units, although mine were suffering from attrition so the Iroquois had more numbers. But I had the advantage of the fort - so should have been a close fight. The loading screen went white and then Empire decided it needed to close. So I went back in, the campaign had saved at the end of the previous year so I hadn't lost anything except the time spent watching other players moves.

I was tempted though to make a few garrison adjustments in New France to see if it would change the Iroquois attack decision. I moved an extra unit of militia into my fort. Well the Iroquois decided to attack another fort instead that only had three units. And the same thing happened - a white screen crash in the battle loading sequence. I hope this isn't going to keep happening!

Anyone else had this problem?

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

This guy took all regions playing as Sweden!

Montreal Falls and Austria declares War!

Year: Summer 1707

What a nightmare - the Iroquois just won't give up and took Montreal fairly easily - I really need to bolster my forces there.

And then Louis XIV dies and Austria disputes the succession. Interestingly enough they apparently brought in their allies, which included Great Britain - a problem because they could really mess up my trade routes, and Wurtemburg and Bavaria - not as threatening, but they are on my borders so could get messy.

But so far these allies are still at Peace and Austria hasn't done much. They are sending a raggedy mob of 3 units of irregulars through Bavaria towards my borders though - not much of a threat I hope?

On a more positive note I now have three schools/colleges and am rapidly researching mostly military technologies - the plan being to be able to defeat the natives in North America more easily through more advanced tech.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Damn the Iroquois

Current Year: Summer 1705
Nation: France

Montreal has just fallen to the Iroquois! I am fighting to get it back and have done well, just one enemy unit left inside the city, but the attack was rather unexpected. As a result I am speeding up the concentration of my forces in Quebec. I am wondering if the Iroquois will be rather less good at cavalry than those Cherokee were? I am still expecting a hard fight though.

I am pleased though to now have two new schools under construction. With three schools I can focus each on one of the key areas of research, i.e. one on military, one on science/philosophy, one on technology.

Monday, 13 July 2009

French - starting out a short campaign

I played a few years as France last night. In many ways quite similar to Great Britain with its North American provinces, battles with Indians and a colonial ally - i.e. Louisiana. However, France seems to have a literal goldmine in Guyana which is quite profitable and also more wealth in general in both America and Europe - however, this also means there is more to defend.

I spent the first few turns just trying to build up some garrisons and defences, while also keeping focused on building up long term economic growth as early as possible. I dabbled in a war with Wurtemburg when they declared war on me, but my forces were well beaten when I tried to lay siege to Cologne, so I have left that for a while.

Next step is to build and protect New France and Quebec and then strike south to help Louisiana.

Friday, 3 July 2009

No play no posts!

There is a good reason for no recent posts on this blog - I simply haven't been playing the game recently. Will have to get back into it soon.

I hear that there is a new patch available, which is quite exciting!

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Cherokees at breaking point

If I can get some more line infranty built in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas I should be able to march on the cities in the Cherokee core territories.

I have figured out the best way of defeating them as well - find a defensive position, set-up artillery and protective infantry and wait for them to come. Have plenty of dragoons ready to counter charge their attacks. 

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Restarting with Great Britain

I have become bogged down in Maryland and Virginia fighting the Cherokees, so I think rather than experience an 18c version of Vietnam I am going to start again with Great Britain. Main aims will be to:

Take out the Cherokees early before they can invade the Thirteen Colonies.
Then move onto New France

To do this I need to:

  • Build armies in the Caribbean, ensuring I have the right buildings constructed
  • Research infantry type advances first
  • Send an army from England if necessary to bulk out the colonial troops
  • When the Cherokees are defeated work on the navy for when the inevitable sea warfare starts when I fight France. 

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Attack on the Cherokees

I made my first landing in the Thirteen Colonies and struck back at the advancing Cherokees, taking Charleston rather than facing down their troops in the field. My worry being that I might defeat their field army, but then be too weak to take Charleston from an army of similar size. At least with Charleston secure I can regroup and build up my forces to take on their field units.