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Thread: How to fight a strong Rome?

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    General knul's Avatar
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    How to fight a strong Rome?

    In my game, I have unified Gallia. However, I'm getting curbstombed by my neighbour Rome, which has about triple the army and manpower I have. I can't get an alliance with Carthage and I can't win any wars against Rome.

    What can I do to tip the balance? I'm thinking about barbarian hunting to increase my population, but after a decade or two I saw that Rome's population is growing faster than mine, even with my complete focus on barbarian hunting.

    Perhaps it's just that Rome, as the focus of the game, is overpowered, but surely there is something I can do?
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  2. #2
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    playing on the other side of the house ... so to speak:

    a) a lot of Rome's manpower is a bit of a mirage (wrong culture provinces et al), so they are vulnerable to attrition
    b) you may want to try and eke out a survival till they are into regular wars with Carthage (attrition again, esp in N Africa) and/or the yellow blob -- which will burn their MP
    c) you may want to send a warband on a tour of Rome's borders to see if you can rile up the locals, odds on they will invade Roman territory

    But ...

    I think you're doomed. I find the wars to take out Gaul ahistorically easy due to the relative low numbers of troops they can field, a single large random barbarian incursion can cause more trouble to be honest.

    So it maybe less that Rome is overpowered and more that Gaul is underpowered.

  3. #3
    Veni, vidi, vici Cheexsta's Avatar
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    I've played a successful Gaul game a while back. It's not simple by any means, and I had to use all of my tricks to do it, but eventually Roma itself fell under the dominion of the Gallic king. It's essentially the same as fighting any other superpower: get the best general you have and fight a defensive war where attrition will wear down enemy armies before hitting them with your concentrated army. Try to train up a good assassin (complete as many +finesse ambitions as possible) and use him to assassinate enemy generals during battles. Destabilize the enemy state any way you can. Conserve manpower where possible (mercenaries are great for this), and mount your offensive as soon as the enemy manpower wears low.

    Most of all, don't give them a chance to breathe. If you're able to win a war, settle for the provinces that give them the most manpower (aside from their capital, obviously), and declare war again as soon as peace is concluded (the stability hit is bad, but you should have a relatively low stability cost to get it all back).

    Keep pushing and don't give up. Hope that helps
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    General knul's Avatar
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    Thanks for your advice, loki100. If you say that Roman manpower is a mirage, do you mean that it doesn’t replenish or that it in some other way isn’t that robust?

    And indeed, barbarian invasions are very hard to deal with. However, as defeating them gives you quite some population, it might be a blessing in disguise.

    Is there any way to destabilize Rome from within (f.e. through assasinations)?
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    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    Cheexsta has partially answered, their manpower is vastly derived from a few provinces - in particular Rome and Campania (I'm just starting a post for my AAR - shameless plug - on this). I'm into 680 and those 2 plus Picenum are over 80% of my useable manpower. So a bad civil war, single revolt or war with Carthage can cut one of these core sources off. Also I don't think the Roman AI gets as much easy cash as the Seleucids do (so can't really spam mercenaries). What I'm finding is even with a lot of care, I often just bounce along with stable manpower (a few revolts/barbarian incursions drains it down), so I'd guess that trying to deal with them may mean using this back on them.

    They need a large army and their units will often be weaker than it may appear.

    I've mostly played around the Black Sea as I find Gaul too hard since the Romans will come for you ....

  6. #6
    General knul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cheexsta View Post
    I've played a successful Gaul game a while back. It's not simple by any means, and I had to use all of my tricks to do it, but eventually Roma itself fell under the dominion of the Gallic king. It's essentially the same as fighting any other superpower: get the best general you have and fight a defensive war where attrition will wear down enemy armies before hitting them with your concentrated army. Try to train up a good assassin (complete as many +finesse ambitions as possible) and use him to assassinate enemy generals during battles. Destabilize the enemy state any way you can. Conserve manpower where possible (mercenaries are great for this), and mount your offensive as soon as the enemy manpower wears low.

    Most of all, don't give them a chance to breathe. If you're able to win a war, settle for the provinces that give them the most manpower (aside from their capital, obviously), and declare war again as soon as peace is concluded (the stability hit is bad, but you should have a relatively low stability cost to get it all back).

    Keep pushing and don't give up. Hope that helps
    Thanks, Cheexstra, it's good to know that it's possible. I'm aware that winning the first war is paramanount, as I can indeed restart it immediately (at a cost, of course), like in EU3. I do, however, find it impossible to win the first war or even get close to a draw. Perhaps I need to accept vassalage and turn on Rome as soon as they are at war with Carthage?

    I haven't tried assasinating enemy generals, that might help me in winning the first war.

    Quote Originally Posted by loki100 View Post
    Cheexsta has partially answered, their manpower is vastly derived from a few provinces - in particular Rome and Campania (I'm just starting a post for my AAR - shameless plug - on this). I'm into 680 and those 2 plus Picenum are over 80% of my useable manpower. So a bad civil war, single revolt or war with Carthage can cut one of these core sources off. Also I don't think the Roman AI gets as much easy cash as the Seleucids do (so can't really spam mercenaries). What I'm finding is even with a lot of care, I often just bounce along with stable manpower (a few revolts/barbarian incursions drains it down), so I'd guess that trying to deal with them may mean using this back on them.

    They need a large army and their units will often be weaker than it may appear.

    I've mostly played around the Black Sea as I find Gaul too hard since the Romans will come for you ....
    This confirms that if I can win one war, I have Rome on its knees, especially if I get get Campania and/or Picenum. Good to know. Again, the problem remains with winning that first war.
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  7. #7
    General knul's Avatar
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    Well, I've tried and failed. I built about 45 regiments, at which point my net income is about zero. I managed to destroy about 40 Roman regiments by attacking them when they failed an assault and then pursuing them until destruction.

    However, this only works as long as there is no land connection between Rome and Gallia, as the AI lands most of its troops in 20-regiment packages via transports. As soon as the Roman colonise a province and connect Gallia and Rome, I'm doomed: a stack of 60 regiments invades and effortlessly assaults provinces, pushing aside my armies and I have to give up due to my plummeting income. Even with 50% more moral due to tribal bonuses, I can’t defeat such huge armies.

    It might be the case that if I kill another 40-50 Roman regiments, I might stop Roman recruitment due to their lack of gold. It seems almost impossible to deplete their manpower: All my victories do not even dent Roman manpower. Assassinating Roman generals does not really do much: I have killed maybe two generals, which are quickly replaced by quite competent generals with 6-7 mil skill (although in one case a successful assassination won me a battle).

    The problem is that I have to win many, many battles to win the war while if I decisively lose one battle, I’m toast. The odds are massively against me.
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  8. #8
    Veni, vidi, vici Cheexsta's Avatar
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    If they attack you with a huge doomstack, really the only thing you can do is fall back and let attrition kill as many Romans as possible, and only attack when you know you can win.

    When you assassinate their leaders, try waiting until you're in a battle and pause the game before trying to assassinate him.

    Another idea is to create a small cavalry stack (~10 regiments) and use that to run around Roman land, picking off small armies before they can gather into a large stack. If you're particularly gutsy, you can try besieging Rome with a minimal cavalry army and just use your cavalry force to pick off units before they merge to counterattack you. If they do manage to gather, your improved speed should be enough to get away.

    It's not easy by any means, but the challenge is half the fun
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  9. #9
    The other thing not specifically mentioned is forts build them as high as possible at all times as Rome will siege them and lose loads of soldiers this way. Also As Gaul always take Britain as soon as possible and develop it. I then fall back and defend the crossing with 3 large armies moving them in when outnumbered and putting them on a cycle the strongest at the front the weakest at the back to give them time to replenish their troops. If it looks like it's going badly you can always make a tactical retreat to britain and hold them in the bottle neck there. Using this strategy I've been able to beat down the Roman armies enough to be able to take back the provinces I've lost and force a white peace.

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