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Topic Subject: Opening Moves - Seleucids
posted 12-23-13 02:24 PM EDT (US)   
This guide is on how to survive a Seleucid Hard campaign for the first 30 turns. Because the timing of certain events may vary in each campaign, this guide will give a detailed analysis of key starting issues instead of focusing on turn by turn moves.

Starting satrapies: Media, Sardes, Sargatia, Persia, Parthava, Drangiana, and Aria
Except Media and Sardes, all your other satrapies will likely rebel and declare war on you within the first 10 turns. Persia and Drangiana may sometimes stay loyal but this is not a guarantee. To avoid being pulled into unnecessary wars with your northern neighbors, break off the satrapy status of Sardes immediately from turn 1.

Do not attack Media because they are needed as a buffer to hold off the rebel satrapies long enough for your forces to finish off Egypt and re-focus your attention on those rebel scum.

Starting enemy: Qidri
Move Antiochus' starting army towards Edessa and merge Petrocles' army with his. Leave Petrocles in Edessa and use him to recruit some cheap eastern spearmen in subsequent turns to keep order there temporarily. When you are ready to recruit a second professional army, replace the garrison command with a non-family member and use Petrocles to lead the second army (will explain more on this later).

Move Antiochus army further south and recruit some extra units to make a full 20 unit army. Before you enter Qidri territory, see if they are willing to sue for peace in exchange for a handsome addition to your treasury. If not, invade and occupy them as a last resort. In my campaign, they gave me 4000-7000 denarii (can't quite remember exactly) for a peace treaty which I accepted. Leaving them alive is a good idea as they act as a buffer against any enemy armies attacking you from the south and south-east.

Trade is absolutely critical to ensuring you have enough money to pay your armies which will be many to fight on more than one front when necessary. By turn 25, I had 20 trade partners, 3 full professional armies and almost 5000 denarii per turn (enough to raise a 4th army). Establishing trade starts from turn 1 where you need to send your small navy first towards Knosses and Cyrenaica, then towards Carthage, the Adriatic Sea, Massilia, the Iberian peninsula and then to Britannia. Keep trying to form trade partners along the way.

Some like Carthage and Massilia will easily agree to a trade agreement. But others would be less willing unless you pay between 1000-2000 denarii. However, do not simply pay that large amount unless the trade partner also offers a resource in return. If they have no resources, the most you'd want to pay them is 500-1000 for trade, nothing more. Even as many "neutral" factions won't be willing to trade, there are also quite a number that do. So trade with those willing to trade and ignore those that refuse a fair deal. And be careful not to trade with enemies of prospective trade partners unless they have resources to justify the trade. Otherwise, the diplomatic penalty would make it harder to reach an agreement later.

Public Order
You start with negative public order in all cities, so the priority is to build temples (preferably the one with +4 order bonus and the subsequent upgrades).

You can also recruit other families' generals to further improve public order (by recruiting cheap units) until the cultural or other order penalties wear off. While this slightly lowers your short term influence, it also relegates them to just keeping order and allows you to reserve your own family's generals for actual fighting to further increase your influence in the long run. As you can see below, I still managed to retain 59% influence at turn 25 despite recruiting two outsider generals for "garrison order duty".

The screenshot below shows that public order in newly conquered Aegyptus province is still under control with a small garrison of only 2 units in Memphis and a full army taken out from Diospolis.

Building Priority and Research
Always prioritize temple building early on for public order unless you are running low on food, in which case you need to build/upgrade farms before upgrading your temples that consume food. Close behind in priority is the Holosideros barracks (for pikemen and persian hoplites) and Perioikos camp (for archers). Of course, you need to prioritize military research early on and occasionally switch to economic research once you can build the requisite barracks. That said, you will find yourself focusing more on military than economic research due to your highly hostile surroundings, but do not totally neglect economic research to pay for upkeep.

The screenshot below shows the 130% research bonus I had at turn 25. Military techs already researched by then include: Logistics, Tactical Drills, Engineering. Civic techs: Land Management and Fertilization (for upgrading farms) and Scholarship (for building a library in Antioch)

Early Army Composition
A decent early army composition imo is 1 general, 4 eastern javelinmen, 4 archers, 2 light cavs, 6 pikemen (not levy but professional ones) and 3 persian hoplites. Ballistas would be a great addition but you should also do fine without them in the early game.

Early Target
Attack Cyprus early, preferably by joining another faction it's already at war with to avoid immediate confrontation with their overlords Egypt. But do so only after you can recruit pikemen, persian hoplites and archers. If you can't avoid fighting Egypt as a result of attacking Cyprus, wait a while longer until you can raise a second army on the mainland. This second army will march on Jerusalem.

Stay focused on blitzing and wiping out Cyprus and Egypt even after your satrapies rebel. Media and sometimes Persia should be able to hold off the rebel satrapies long enough for you to take over the whole of Egypt. Then you can re-focus your attention on this unfinished business.

Egypt is also worth taking because of its rich food resources and the high cash bonus from accomplishing the side objective of being at war with it. Once you get this food surplus, you can upgrade your town tiers to further boost your economy. From there, you should be in a much better position to deal with those rebel satrapies and further expand your empire. The screenshot below shows my starting invasion of Aegyptus province at turn 19.

The screenshot below shows my diplomacy status at turn 25. Nabatea took advantage of my war with Egypt to launch a surprise attack. But it was too late as Egypt was already almost destroyed and I rushed my armies back to bring the war to them.

Early Unit Analysis

General's unit
I prefer my general's unit to be Companion Cavalry as it can move around quickly and easily chase down routing enemies.

Eastern Spearmen
Very poor unit. Not for serious combat but good for keeping order as a garrison for low upkeep.

Starting Mercenary Indian War Elephants
Despite their high upkeep, these are excellent at mowing down enemy infantry when used in a support role (flank or rear attacks on already engaged enemy units). Due to their slow speed, they are not good for leading frontal attacks which could get them killed very quickly if facing overwhelming professional enemy units alone.

Levy Pikemen
These are decent for the initial battles before you are able to recruit pikemen. But their low morale makes them unsuitable for prolonged melee against superior enemies and they should be replaced asap by pikemen once this is possible.

These have higher weapon damage than levy pikemen and are useful for mobile attacks and plugging weak areas in your frontline. In other words, they give more battlefield flexibility to support the inflexibility and slow responsiveness of the pike phalanx. But you should not rely on them for long due to their low morale.

Light Cavalry
These are useful for hitting enemy missile units and routers. But they fall easily against heavy cavalry and spearmen.

These have lower missile damage than archers but have greater range. A good alternative when archers are not available.

Eastern Javelinmen
These cause insane missile damage at close range with good number of shots per minute. They chew up levy units like crazy and can cause serious damage to professional troops. But remember that it works both ways as the enemy also has access to them. But they are a good counter to enemy javelinmen.

This is your first professional frontline melee unit and only costs an extra 10 denarii in upkeep compared to its levy counterpart. They also have much higher melee attack, melee defense, armor and morale. So disband levy pikemen and upgrade to them asap when you can.

These cause decent but less missile damage than eastern javelinmen. But they have much greater range, ammo and flaming arrows that lower enemy morale. A good complement with eastern javelinmen.

Persian Hoplites
Lower melee attack than pikemen but much higher weapon damage, melee defense and armor. Also decent morale. Good replacement for hillmen once they are available for recruitment.

[This message has been edited by Genghis_Khan1 (edited 12-26-2013 @ 01:22 AM).]

posted 12-23-13 11:21 PM EDT (US)     1 / 6  
Good guide, but it needs a slight correction.
Early Target
Attack Sardis early, preferably by joining another faction it's already at war with to avoid immediate confrontation with their overlords Egypt. But do so only after you can recruit pikemen, persian hoplites and archers. If you can't avoid fighting Egypt as a result of attacking Sardis, wait a while longer until you can raise a second army on the mainland.
Here, by Sardis you meant Cyprus right?
posted 12-24-13 06:15 AM EDT (US)     2 / 6  
Not bad. Any pictures?

And I shall go Softly into the Night Taking my Dreams As will You
posted 12-24-13 09:38 AM EDT (US)     3 / 6  
Thanks for the correction el_bandito. Edit made.

Thanks EnemyofJupitor. I'm trying to reupload the screenshots to appear larger. Hopefully it works.

I've made some extra edits and also added an early unit analysis section.

Edit: Sorry, I've been unable to make the screenshots bigger without some parts appearing off the page, so we'll have to settle for the screenshot links. Merry Christmas to all!

[This message has been edited by Genghis_Khan1 (edited 12-24-2013 @ 10:07 AM).]

posted 12-24-13 12:24 PM EDT (US)     4 / 6  
Send them to me (email in profile) and I'll upload them to TWH's account for the article upload.

Right, guys. Any other things? 3 day rule et all

And I shall go Softly into the Night Taking my Dreams As will You
posted 12-24-13 12:51 PM EDT (US)     5 / 6  
I've sent you the images EnemyofJupitor. Thanks!
posted 01-20-14 12:22 PM EDT (US)     6 / 6  
It's coming. Honest. It's on a post it note next to my computer.

And I shall go Softly into the Night Taking my Dreams As will You
Total War: Rome 2 Heaven » Forums » Guides & Articles » Opening Moves - Seleucids
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