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Thread: DW 5.1 Byzantium - beginner advice

  1. #1

    DW 5.1 Byzantium - beginner advice

    Playing my second campaign, quite a different locale from my first one in Japan. Just looking for a few pointers before I get too far and make big mistakes!

    (tl;dr at bottom.)

    Attachment 57720

    Settings:
    • Normal difficulty, normal aggression.
    • Inflation off.
    • Game is slightly modded to give all tech groups except nomad and new world a higher slow limit (25).
    • Core in 25 years (left over from my Japan game, where I was colonizing.)

    I used the easy January 1405 start date. I've taken it up to 1449/1450 and have run into the Golden Horde on two sides. Wasn't sure what to expect from them but they've been beating up everyone in the north so far. (Ignore the GH rebels in the map - they clear them out quickly.) I fought them off the first time until they conceded but they had way higher numbers after that (30 unit stack at one point; my force limit is 36), so I've immediately conceded since. Unfortunately, I'm back to negative prestige, as I wasn't able to get back all of my cores. Four Greek ones are outstanding: GH + vassal have one each and I'm not really looking to extend further to get them. Crete and Cyprus I can probably get through patriots. I have one 6/6 fire/shock general from all the fighting up to now and around 68% military tradition currently. Not sure how much generals help against huge numbers?

    I wasn't set on Westernizing but from cheating to preview the land tech units, I've seen that Eastern tech appears to be quite inferior. I'm able to recruit Azab infantry and Musellem cavalry right now from the former Ottoman lands and those are much better than even up to around Eastern land 13 or so. I have a 7/7/8 heir (0 years old) and about 46 years until I have the right sliders, barring events. Castille grabbed two non-Greek cores east of me before I could but that might be good, since they're a western neighbour and could help buffer GH and Mamluks. (Mamluks seems to be doing ok against GH right now.)

    I don't really have a plan, just looking to see what I can do, so for now it seems I should max mint and leave my tech lagging. My tech is all 5 and Castille is already in the 7s, so 46 years should probably do it. I'll try to convert all the Ottoman lands to Orthodox while I wait, before I lose my missionaries. (I have a mission to convert everyone that gives +3 stability on success, if I could time it right.) With the extra money, I suppose I could go over the force limit and try to give GH some of their own medicine.

    Everyone around me is allied all over the place, so I don't think any conquest is in the cards right now, unless it was to the south. I don't have any allies currently. I should have lots of money for gifts, so I could fix that.

    Sorry for the length. Basically:
    • Any Byzantium specific advice?
    • Horde tips?
    • Leave Castille alone, bunker down and Westernize? If I have to enter naval combat, should I just stack carracks? Other threads seem to have various advice about carrack/galley ratio. The Ottomans were afraid of my mighty galleys but I don't think Castille will be.
    • Any especially bad things about Westernizing that will pop up?

  2. #2
    Westernize ASAP! Start moving into the Levant.

    Once you start westernizing you will get hit hard with bad events. just accept one (not the one that forces you to decentralize!) and use that to rebuild stability. Then get to military modernization as soon as you can and then select a latin unit.
    Sorry, I don't have time to talk about our AI atm, but I was not aware of there being an AI in Empire Total War.- Johan

  3. #3
    I recommend waiting until after Land 10 or Land 16 to get upgraded cavalry before Modernizing your military. Then only westernize the Infantry and use upgraded cavalry to steamroll your western neighbors.

  4. #4
    Once you westernize, you'll get hit with a series of random events (such as legitimacy -30 or decentralization +1) unless you choose to "resist western influence", which lasts for something like 10 years. However, this comes with its own bad effects, since you can't modernize your military unless you don't have the resist western influence tag. The first time you are confronted with the event, you'll have to choose the resist western influence option, but once it expires you should time it so that you have the necessary prerequisites of military modernization: +3 stability, admin skill of at least 7, and full centralization (if I remember correctly). The most difficult part is keeping your ruler alive (though it's a lot easier if the heir also has an admin 7 rating), but it shouldn't be too difficult as long as you plan ahead. In my own Byzantium game, I waited until the mid 16th century before westernizing. By that time I was only on land 13 or 14, I think.

    You might have the opportunity to take a few provinces from the Golden Horde, but it doesn't look to me like they'll factor very much into your game. If you westernize soon, then you might want to use the holy war CB on the Mamluks, especially since they have three of the five territories required to establish the Pentarchy (the other two being Thrace and Rome).
    Last edited by Mgoblue201; 04-07-2012 at 04:43.

  5. #5
    Thanks all. It seems better cavalry is one bright spot in Eastern tech. Level 13 gives the Hussar, which is fairly nice, but it still seem to be eclipsed by Western infantry. Could be good for the combined arms bonus?

    My income is fairly small at the moment (26.5 after maintenance), so if I was going to wait for land 13, I'd probably want to hit production and trade of at least 8 as well to get the buildings. Even ignoring government and naval tech, it seems like I'd never be able to invest enough. I'll have to crunch some more numbers.

    Another question, on force limits: I was looking at the wiki and it says the calculation is mostly on base tax. Is that accurate? Burgandy always seems to have a really high limit, for one example.

  6. #6
    Modding Victoria 2 ZomgK3tchup's Avatar
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    Once you get a navy, capture Gibraltar and Tangier and never leave. Taking these two will allow you to station (and reinforce/heal) a huge fleet that prevents the enemy from blockading your homeland.

    That is especially important because you'll often end up at war with GB and Spain and their allies since they are usually out to get you and/or DotF.

    I also find that it's really easy to overextend yourself as Byzantium since you have enemies on both your left and right, and if you don't have a navy, at sea as well. If you advance too far east/west or into Egypt, you'll end up having maybe one division on each front and your island territories defenseless.

    Oh, and I like to take Alexandria ASAP since additional COTs are always nice to have.

    Here's some general advice though. Even if you're outnumbered, there's no reason why you should lose a war. Let the enemy occupy your provinces and then attack their armies one at a time with your combined forces. If there are too many, don't be afraid to use "Scorched Earth" to drive up their attrition and slow them down. Also try to have a general present whenever possible; the AI has no qualms with making its leader a general and marching him off against you. Don't let yourself be at a disadvantage here.

    Also note that if you don't have any immediate enemies, you can drop your military and naval maintenance for additional income. Be aware that it will make you seem weaker and take longer for you to respond if you're DOW'd or called into war.

    I notice that you have four missionaries in that current screenshot too. If you haven't already, you should use some missionaries to convert Asia Minor back to Orthodox. You lose a good bit if a province isn't the same religion as you.

    I wish I could be more specific, but I haven't touched vanilla in forever. My Byzantium games are usually D&T so I can form Rome and stuff.

  7. #7
    If any neighboring provinces already have some buildings constructed, then you'll automatically receive them in peace deals as long as the provinces are still cores, which they should be in the early stages of a Byzantium game. Otherwise, I would personally recommend trying to build them as soon as you can. Anatolia is pretty rich, so you shouldn't be hurting for money or manpower as the game goes along.

    One more thought on westernizing: though my only experience with westernization is derived from just my one Byzantium game, I would think that, with a monarchy or empire, the administrative skill of the ruler is the most important factor in deciding to westernize. In other words, once you have the proper ruler in place, and all other conditions are met, I would think about westernizing soon, assuming that you're not under any sort of external threat.

    Edit: Actually, I waited until I had an admin 7 ruler so that I could westernize and modernize my military in quick succession. I don't know what the best strategy is, whether you should wait for an admin 6 or admin 7 ruler, so you might want to ask more experienced players for their opinions.
    Last edited by Mgoblue201; 05-07-2012 at 00:21.

  8. #8
    ZomgK3tchup: I appreciate the advice. I think it probably applies to any version.

    Gibraltar: sounds like a good idea, I hadn't thought of that. Though that would still leave all of the internal ports enemies could use, right? Maybe having Sicily would help there.

    I hadn't looked into the scorch option until now, since I didn't want to damage my own land, but it looks like it could come in handy, used correctly. (Hopefully I don't burn my own guys!)

    Mgoblue201: it seems a bit hard to make money without free trade but I'm stuck there for now. Maybe full merc and CoTs is the way to go. And yes, Westernize should be a go. I just need to decide what to do about the land tech, since the cav does seem worth waiting for. Thanks!

  9. #9
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    [QUOTE=Sidereus;14056656]Gibraltar: sounds like a good idea, I hadn't thought of that. Though that would still leave all of the internal ports enemies could use, right? Maybe having Sicily would help there.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sidereus View Post
    I hadn't looked into the scorch option until now, since I didn't want to damage my own land, but it looks like it could come in handy, used correctly. (Hopefully I don't burn my own guys!)
    Spain probably won't keep the bulk of its fleet in the Mediterranean, so as long as you have your main fleet in Gibraltar, you can blockade their Mediterranean ports with cogs. It wouldn't hurt to strip them of their North Africa holdings though. The less ports they have, the better.

    Scorched Earth is really overpowered for large empires since any single province contributes a very small portion to your total income. It's an excellent strategy to use especially if you have bottlenecks (i.e. one province borders) anywhere. For example, your northern border with the Golden Horde is a decent bottleneck point. If they come with large numbers, retreat and scorch the single province between you and them.

    That said, the GH is a joke after 1500. You should have no problem sweeping them need-be. Same with Egypt. It might look big and scary, but superior technology combined with AI's military stupidity means that you should be able to trash them, no problem.

    Oh, and your border with Hungary is pretty sexy. It's what I'd imagine a successful Byzantium's western border would look like except with some more territory in the southwest.
    Last edited by ZomgK3tchup; 05-07-2012 at 06:48.

  10. #10
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    Additional CoTs are not nice if you dont have a core on them, you get -15% compete chance from a CoT without a core on it. Try ally Portugal or Aragon on day 1 of the game to get a strong ally fleet vs Ottomans etc.

  11. #11
    Attachment 58633

    A few little pieces taken here and there: Venice and two from Bohemia, of note. I'm allied/have royal marriage with Hungary and Bosnia. GH has imploded with rebels. I've actually been trying to help them with money since I'd rather they not die just yet, but they seem finished.

    I feel like I'm missing something in empire management. Since I have no money problems right now, my land force limit is at 112/63 but this still doesn't feel like enough. I can defend what I have now but moving over to Naples (current mission) or to the Mamluks (seems safer) feels like an overextension. About how many units would you typically need for a small area like this? I have:
    • 10 in Venice
    • 10 in former Bohemia provinces
    • 22 up by Poland/Teutonic/Horde
    • 6 in Albania
    • 34 on the eastern borders.
    • 30 free that I was going to use for the next conquest

    If I stuck to just 63, I'd feel terribly vulnerable.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sandmann View Post
    Additional CoTs are not nice if you dont have a core on them, you get -15% compete chance
    In other people's CoTs. The 15% penalty per uncored CoT doesn't apply in the CoTs you own.
    If you think someone's trolling, PM a moderator.

    Ask your quick modding questions in the appropriate place

  13. #13
    The two Bohemian provinces look kind of vulnerable, though if you suspect that Austria and Bohemia aren't going to attack, then you can probably entrust the defense of your western front to Bosnia and Hungary and move some of your troops to a more active location.

    Naples can be difficult to defeat if they've formed alliances with other major powers such as Castile, Portugal, or Great Britain. The Mamluks are possibly easier to deal with, but it's difficult to attack from the north because of the low supply limit in their territory and the high war exhaustion that you might incur. However, you can usually exhaust their war capacity and thin their troop numbers by playing defensive within Anatolia, then transport your troops down to Egypt to get them to capitulate.

    If you're making a lot of money year on year, then I would recruit more troops and try to expand as aggressively as possible. With the holy war CB, you can make your way down into north Africa in only a few successive wars. Or, by going into Italy, you can take all of the Neapolitan territory fairly quickly - all you need is a foothold in Italy to easily route them. The problem with Naples is that, unless you have provinces in northern Italy, you can't rely exclusively on your defense to exhaust them. If you land troops in their territory, then they'll send large stacks at you. Either attack them when they are extremely vulnerable or focus on your other goals first.

    Personally, I might want to sell those two Bohemian provinces to Hungary to tighten your position and form a huge buffer against the rest of Europe. Once your empire has grown, you can even try to form a personal union with Hungary later, but personal unions come down to pure chance and could upset your relations in the meantime, so it might not be a great strategy depending upon how you play. I've never actually tried to claim the throne of a country I already have an alliance with. But it's at least something to consider.

  14. #14
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    The problem with westernising is that it means going full innovative, which means 0 missionaries, which means most of your provinces will be useless to you.
    So, you have to wait until you've converted everywhere and are already pretty big.
    Looking at your map I'd say ignore Europe for the time being, take those wealthy Syrian provinces and the wealthier Egyptian provinces (possibly avoid the COT depending on your trade strategy).

  15. #15
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    Normally with an Eastern tech like Byzantium it's difficult to take on the more powerful westernized nations early on land and later at sea, so I'd stay away from Castille unless you have a strong western ally to fight them on land (hopefully Burgundy pushes south).

    Normally Castille can eat up North Africa pretty easily, so if you choose to fight the Mamluks it's a good idea to take their western border, or at least Alexandria to make sure you won't have problems forming Pentarchy. Italy's also very useful to have as all the provinces (other than Modena) are very rich and it's good to grab the non HRE while you can. And if you feel like you're strong enough or the Emperor's weak enough, just take provinces and make them leave the Empire so you don't have unlawful territory.

    If you want to westernize it's recommended you take mecca/jerusalem/rome and Pentarchy to make up for high innovative. After that usually I like pushing all the way to China, it's a really nice production bonus from Chinese/Indian provinces and you can leave the Capital at Constantinople without having to worry about encircling the Black Sea. You also don't need to westernize to massacre those guys. Good luck!

  16. #16
    Mgoblue201: I saw your Byzantium screenshot in the empires thread, very nice. Perhaps one day I'll be able reach something similar!

    Hungary decided it would be smart to declare on the HRE (now led by Bradenburg; I guess they didn't like Bohemia losing the last war) all by themselves and their whole 15 units, and wanted me to join in, so that was nice. I gave it a quick shot but I'm not really interested in fighting all of that, so I went back a few saves. I kind of feel like vassalizing them to make them behave, but they're 1 or 2 provinces too big to force it and I'd have to eat a ton of negatives. I may have to just make friends with the HRE for now.

    JoeIsGreat: I decided to tweak the innovative slider to give 0 effect to missionaries, since I don't think it's realistic to lose all of them. I mean, they still go around today, to some degree. So I get one every 4 years now, which is a bit of help.

    han789: yeah, I'm a bit concerned Castille will drive east at some point, so that sounds like a good plan. If only I had the massive HRE forcelimit.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Sidereus View Post
    Mgoblue201: I saw your Byzantium screenshot in the empires thread, very nice. Perhaps one day I'll be able reach something similar!

    Hungary decided it would be smart to declare on the HRE (now led by Bradenburg; I guess they didn't like Bohemia losing the last war) all by themselves and their whole 15 units, and wanted me to join in, so that was nice. I gave it a quick shot but I'm not really interested in fighting all of that, so I went back a few saves. I kind of feel like vassalizing them to make them behave, but they're 1 or 2 provinces too big to force it and I'd have to eat a ton of negatives. I may have to just make friends with the HRE for now.

    JoeIsGreat: I decided to tweak the innovative slider to give 0 effect to missionaries, since I don't think it's realistic to lose all of them. I mean, they still go around today, to some degree. So I get one every 4 years now, which is a bit of help.

    han789: yeah, I'm a bit concerned Castille will drive east at some point, so that sounds like a good plan. If only I had the massive HRE forcelimit.
    Every war with an HRE elector vassalize them and force Orthodox religion on them. Eventually you will be elected HRE. Then form the HRE as an orthodox nation.

  18. #18
    It looks like you are already expanding quickly as Byzantium. I spent much of my early game getting victimized by the Golden Horde and Timurids, which sometimes meant paying tributes, but once they collapsed, I was in a good position to colonize them all the way to India, and, as hank789 said, the India/China provinces are good ways to acquire wealth. The benefit of playing with Byzantium is that it's in a great position to push either east or west, depending upon what you want to do.
    Quote Originally Posted by JoeIsGreat View Post
    The problem with westernising is that it means going full innovative, which means 0 missionaries, which means most of your provinces will be useless to you.
    So, you have to wait until you've converted everywhere and are already pretty big.
    Looking at your map I'd say ignore Europe for the time being, take those wealthy Syrian provinces and the wealthier Egyptian provinces (possibly avoid the COT depending on your trade strategy).
    It's also possible to westernize early, when you're still relatively small, and then push back toward narrow-minded afterwards. The problem with a large, innovative nation with relative religious uniformity is that the event "people sampling new religions" will fire occasionally, though it's not too difficult to deal with.

  19. #19
    you can westernise and still get missionaries. Conquer judea/roma for +.5 each, and pentarchy event for +1. Bonus available from Mecca too. quite easy with Byzantium

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