Recently i finally decided to play RTW as non roman faction, i was drawn to Seleucids because of their wide unit roster, i always wished as Rome to try and use more of a mixed unit tactic, where as Romans i usually just focused on spamming infantry. Anyway i had little trouble defeating local powers, since phalanx pretty much wrecks most other units, i even curbstomped Egypt, one faction that always gave me headache as Rome. But Romans were not sleeping all this time, among them the three roman factions hold maybe as much as 2/4 of the map, with me holding 1/4 and the rest being in the hands of other, smaller factions. Anyhow the first time i fought Brutii i darn nearly got wrecked, despite having significant advantage, phalanx can not stand up to the legion, i only won by overwhelming the enemy with sheer numbers.
The problem was that cohorts were resilient enough to resist my spears, and either go around and start chipping at my flank (if i set my phalanx to deep formation) or drive trough the first rank of spears and simply start fighting my guys head on (if i spread my ranks thin to avoid envelopment).
For a moment i was at a loss, i could not even beat simple Principes, and i knew that was just pre Marian first wave, soon enough roman factions would start sending Pretorians and Urbans after me, and i would be wrecked.
So i turned to historical sources for inspiration, what i do is pretty much straight copy of Macedonian tactic, not really complicated, simple hammer and anvil, but there are a few things i take care to do properly. Most of this battles are sieges since i took two Roman cities and am holding out until reinforcements can arrive.
First of you don't want to fight Romans on the walls, that is what they excel at, i always sally out immediately to face them in the open. My army consists of 2 to 3 units of Cavalry (mainly Cataphracts if i can get them but any cavalry that can melee will do) 1 unit of chariots to deal with any cavalry enemy may bring, 1 or 2 units of archers but this is not necesarry and i almost never use them, sometimes elephants if i can get them and the rest Levy pikemen and phalanxes.
I position all my pikemen away from the enemy, on one of the side gates, because they are extremely vulnerable when they are coming out, a single charge at that moment can wreck your day. I put them all in a big clump and all my cav behind them, also in a clump. A soon as the battle starts i order everyone out of formation and out of the city, when the troops are about 2/3rds of a way out i order everyone in one big line with some 4 to 5 ranks deep phalanxes. I put my cav behind them,
i advance towards the enemy. When the enemy is close i click behind them and position my cav at one flank, just when they are ready to throw the pila i pause, take every unit and send them towards the nearest unit, i often have longer line so my troops already start enveloping the enemy. My goal is to get the enemy commander to commit all his reserves, as soon as i see the coast is clear i send one unit of cavalry around and hit the enemy from behind, the second unit of cav i usually send after archers, if there is any enemy cav i send my chariots after them. At this point it is just a slaughterhouse, first unit breaks almost immediately, and i do the same with the next unit in line. At this point my cav that i sent after archers is often in the position to start doing the same on the other flank. Not long after this enemy units start breaking all on their own, even without hammer and anvil. And then it is all over, enemy army starts routing on mass.
I realize this tactic is not really that revolutionary but i just thought i would share for anyone else who is wondering how to beat romans, i am playing Seleucid but i guess the same can be applied to any helenistic faction, even Egypt, any faction that gets phalanxes should be able to use this . Thanks for reading.