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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.