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Topic Subject: Carthage: opening moves guide ideas
posted 11-08-13 06:42 PM EDT (US)   
Hello everyone. It's time to refill the opening moves guide section and i wanted to give Carthage a first class seat.

After several campaigns it seems like there are no clear-cut opening moves that will give you any real and repeatable advantage if you follow them.

But here is what I did conclude:
As a grown-up you should make two cruel decisions-Abandon your friends and sell out your national pride.

Carthage's starting position is very weak and they have arguably the weakest starting units in the game. Their settlements are very spread out and each one rests on a different province. It will take at least 10 turns until you can muster a force that can defeat a full stack while the AI would gladly exploit your weakness.

But Carthage starts with two client states that border it directly. While the income they bring you is negligible and their armies are pathetic they are your closest friends. Attacking them to gain territorial unity will hurt your reputation. They may be you friends but they have to die so that you can have power.

Your position in Iberia is at best temporary. The AI will magically recruit entire hordes of mercenary swordsmen that you have no hope of defeating. I suggest evacuating the area entirely and letting the various barbarians slug it out with your client state. 9 out of 10 your friends will lose, but their sacrifice was not wasted. they will give you the 15 turns you need to tech up on swordsmen,elephants and heavy cavalry that will allow you to reconquer those lands. Should your allies defeat their initial enemy pull an Iraq on them and drag them into a war with more neighbors until they lose, leaving you with a clean reputation when you reconquer them.

getting Libya killed is more challenging but still possible. Usually i declared war on Egypt and the desert dwellers as soon as I could and hoped for the best. Libya will make large groups of slingers and spearmen and send them off to sea to fight with various Romans and Greeks if you let them. Just like their western buddies they must lose so that you gain.

the other hard decision you need to make is to Not have your own army n the first few dozen turns and rely on mercs. The most obvious example is Syracuse- every turn they live gives them hoplites. The kind of hoplites you do not have the "equipment" to defeat. on the very first turn Syracuse and Rome will buy out the entire mercenary pool' leaving them at a massive advantage over you. Which is why you have to beat them to the punch and spend all your first turn money on mercs just to deny the enemy. with support from your navy you can use the to besiege Syracuse on turn 3 and starve them out or face one of the hardest battles in all your campaign. Sooner or later Rome will attack you. Your small should be able to handle them while your main army runs around Sicily killing rebels. eventually you get the swordsmen that can take on hastasi and heavy cavalry than can crush their velites,equtes and over "es" with ease.

Diplomacy-wise ally yourself with the Etruscan. Like your other friends they too shall fall but will buy you the time you need to research and create the army that will conquer Rome itself. Trade with Greece will come at a cost but you will get your money back after 10 turns or so.

On the construction front your main concern is bankrolling the army of mercs that you hired while keeping in mind to develop your own army.

Avoid agents altogether until you're cashing in over 7000 per turn. you just can't spare the money.

In summary: drag your friends into wars they will lose. Rush Syracuse early on and then intercept roman raids until you have the power to push into Italy. Let east and west Africa fall to your enemies. By the time they directly threaten you you will have all you need to defeat their armies one by one.

Would appreciate comments
Replies:
posted 11-10-13 02:03 PM EDT (US)     1 / 2  
Thanks for posting this. I will start a Carthage campaign after patch 1.7 and this helps me out a lot. Though I'd like Nova Carthago to survive just a bit longer since they have a very good relation ship with me.

Is it truly that hard to hold onto Qart Hadast in Iberia? Since it is a walled settlement and seeing how the AI utterly fail at taking such settlements, one would think a couple of Mercenary Swordsmen on the walls can easily repulse any attacks, unless the enemies bring Ballistas.

[This message has been edited by el_bandito (edited 11-10-2013 @ 02:04 PM).]

posted 11-13-13 03:31 PM EDT (US)     2 / 2  
I ran 2-3 30-turn games to test this strategy. Here are the results:

1)for the most part if you don't have an army in that province the AI will just leave it be for a good 20 turns. Trying to defend it against the hordes of Iberian swordsmen the AI is known to spawn is not only futile but also needlessly expensive. Money will be quite short when you have to face the Romans and possibly some Greeks. For it's measly income and great remoteness there is no point fighting for it until you can bring a large army and start conquering the peninsula. That means clearing out Mauritania, Azania and southern Italy. Chances are you can't do that before turn 30.

2)Your allies will fall surprisingly fast. It seems that they don't recruit any armored units and despite having only one province as opposed to their 3 the small AI factions manage to spawn full stacks of light spearmen and slingers. Cheeky bastards put them all at sea where your superior troops can't hurt them. On the open desert my swordsmen and hoplites would win a battle with zero casualties while outnumbered 3 to one. But at sea everybody has the same transport ships and those unarmored spearmen will ram you to death and make amphibious landings in Africa.

3)in one game I took all of Magna Gracia plus Naples while the Etruscans took everything except Velathry. To avoid diplomatic issues I assumed that 7 provinces against 1 roman they can finish them off.WRONG!! Romans completely conquered them in 10-15 turns and made me divert resources to fight off attacks from the north while all my veteran troops were busy in north Africa. the lesson is never trust someone else to finish off a faction.

4)The AI is totally cheating. They pulled a soviet move on me. I kill one full stack of gaetuli and the very next turn a full stack of Turtedani show up at the same spot. Same thing with Cyrenecia after the 3 minor factions wasted Libya. Game turned into a large scale zombie shooter. One of the armies fought back-to-back for 8 straight turns against stack after stack of cheap spearmen. Another army went back and forth between Iol and Dimidi fending off assault after assault. Thaspus was attacked simultaneously by 3 full stacks of Nasomentes who came by sea and by coincidence i had a 8 unit army mustering nearby. 5500 spearmen against 800+300 hoplites from garrison. Lesson is make sure you kill them one by one or you end up with a game that is a little too interesting... then again if you like the "300" version of killing lots of black people over and over again this might just be for you.

5)Never auto-resolve land battles against javelin armed units. they always totally killed half your elephants and nobody else. Spend the 10 minutes to properly kill them and avoid having your most powerful unit damaged.

6)spend that money on early non-aggression pacts with all the Greek factions. If you get cheap and cut a deal with just one of them you will find yourself outstretched and invaded. Between Athens, Sparta and Epirus it is the latter who usually draws the short straw and if you happened to trade with them you're next.

In summary leave Spain to save money and let your friends die, take half of Italy and cut a deal with the Greeks before going on total war all over north Africa. Fun!
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