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Salernum Campaign Stymie

MarkTwainWhiteMarkTwainWhite Posts: 13Registered Users
The first two battles were very simple and did a good job of teaching me basics. However, I am stymied on the third battle (Salernum). After studying the units and their use I find:
1. Once engaged my groups are eventual ground down. I am having trouble paying attention to individual units. After they engage they are eventually are defeated. I have tried to use detailed abilities (Calvary in Wedge charge. Unmounting Calvary for max effect. Set melee troops in appropriate roles such as defend, spread out, etc.
2. Should I be withdrawing unites on a regular basis to save them after initial attack?
3. Sometimes the scenario says if I capture the town I can win. I assume that refers to capturing the town center by having a group of soldiers there. I have had as many as three unmounted calvary groups there to no effect. What do you need to do to capture the town?
4. Is there a more appropriate area to post questions about tactics? Videos are helpful for teaching movements but I need some help about does and don't for handling units in the midst of the battle (i.e. is there a dedicated area to discuss beginner tactics for successful fighting?


  • hoomhoom Posts: 83Registered Users
    First turn of 3rd part of the Prologue campaign right?
    Its been a while so I played it a few times trying things out.

    Magnum Opus follows (I'm assuming you're very new to Total War games here)

    Basically you should be able to win this battle by putting your infantry in a single line at front engaging the infantry, with the slingers behind, your general behind the slingers (when you have general selected you'll see a blue circle around him, units in the circle have better morale so try to keep main force in the circle) & use the cavalry to destroy the enemy cavalry and isolated skirmishers/mob/slingers.

    You have a depleted army which makes it seem harder than it might have, game will let you wait 2 turns for your army to regenerate which makes it much easier (kicks you out back to Main Menu if you try a 3rd), flips AI over to a defensive posture also.
    But its definitely a very winnable battle on the 1st turn.

    Some Basics:
    General rule in TW is you want to break the Morale of the enemy units so they run away (then chase them down with cavalry while they're routing! But thats not necessary for this battle) rather than kill them all in nasty frontal fighting.
    Units get a big combat & morale penalty from being attacked in side/rear so they break & lose soldiers much quicker than if you just fight frontally.

    So you generally want to engage a strong enemy unit frontally with a strong unit of your own to pin him in place then move other unit/s to flank/rear before attacking. (missile units firing into side/rear are also more effective)
    That way you will defeat the enemy much quicker & with less friendly casualties than if you'd just attacked frontally with all units.

    Once the enemy breaks you can move on to next unit or reform your line/formation for next engagement.
    But also AI will try to do it to you so you need to adjust your own units to avoid letting your units be attacked from flank/rear.

    Enemy has 6 spear infantry, 1 cavalry & a bunch of Light/mob.
    You mainly need to be concerned with engaging the spear infantry.

    Mob are basically completely useless, they'll break after only a few seconds of fighting with nearly any unit.

    Light units (slingers/skirmishers/archers) can be easily broken by a few seconds of fighting with any unit but if you let them sit back shooting at you they'll whittle your units down over time.
    AI will try to defend them from your cavalry with the spear units & they will generally skirmish away from your infantry but charge in a couple of cavalry at isolated units & they'll break quickly.

    Spears beat cavalry pretty much always so don't let your cavalry fight with the spear infantry (except briefly if you're charging them from the rear), they'll just die.
    AI will generally try to use spears to defend light units so you may need to do a bit of dodging around trying to pull one away then pouncing in to break a weak unit & escape before the spears can get back.

    There is a chance the enemy cavalry will frontally charge your infantry & just die, even sword Heavy infantry will generally beat cavalry frontally without much loss.
    Your 4 depleted cavalry will be able to kill it off easily enough (again attack from at least 2 sides)
    Generally better to operate a group of 2 on each flank rather than mob them together, at least once the enemy cavalry is dealt with.

    You can always use pause or slo-mo to assess the situation & give out orders (game tends to not show the new unit location on Pause but it'll update if you give it a sec of slo-mo)

    I'm big on using Groups to help keep stuff under control.
    CA staff tend to just do unstructured no-pause & RPG style drag-box selection in their streams/demo battles but there are some great Group/Formation tools & I can't live without them.

    There are basic Groups (select units then G), you can right click & drag a Group out into a line.
    They will always form a line where you dragged them regardless of how they were located before.
    (the game will try to equalise the front width of each unit wheras most of the time you want to equalise the rank depth which is an annoyance we have to live with)

    Locked groups help hold more complex formations (put units in the formation you want, select them then Ctrl+G), you can select the group & click/drag to a new location and they will hold that formation. (there are rare bugs where they revert to a line but mostly it can be relied on)

    It can be a bit time consuming but I generally try to create groups left to right so that first group is my left flank, last group is my right flank which can help you select the unit/group you want.
    Alternatively something like left cav, right cav, left flank infantry, right flank infantry, main line infantry, ranged units.

    You can also use arrow keys & ctrl+ arrow to move formations around without using groups, is very useful for the early parts of a battle when you are moving from initial location towards the enemy, they'll maintain formation without having to faf-around re-dragging stuff. (though some quirks with units that are facing different directions)

    I dunno if anyone actually ever uses the inbuilt formations?

    At various times in a battle you may want to rebuild formations/groups when the circumstances change/to reform weakened lines.

    There is a fatigue factor in TW games, tired units move slower, fight weaker & I think have a morale penalty.
    In this battle there's probably not much point in trying to rotate out units to rest, can be useful in bigger battles but even then its fairly rare in the newer TW games.

    Withdraw button will make your unit rout off the map, again used to be more important in older TW titles but now mostly not much use.

    Mostly the abilities aren't much use, loose formation helps infantry thats being shot at by ranged units to take less damage (but makes them weaker vs infantry/cavalry) but stuff like wedge or diamond on cavalry isn't much use in my experience.
    On units that have it Phalanx & Shield Wall do give important bonuses though.

    Town Centre
    Initially when the game came out you could capture the town centre (red enemy, white neutral, yellow friendly) to get a win but it made actually defending cities a real PITA and was changed in one of the early patches to only a morale hit for enemy/morale boost for friendlies in the circle, you have to kill/break all units for the win.
    It can be worth grabbing the town centre but mostly not very important.
    maybe those guys should be doing something more useful...
  • MarkTwainWhiteMarkTwainWhite Posts: 13Registered Users
    You are right. I AM very new to TW here. I mean Salerum is basically just a tutorial level battle, right? Thank you very much for taking the time and effort to teach me on this situation. I think the biggest surprise is your comment that waiting a day or two for the army to recover from some of its depleted state. I was always going on the first day, especially if it was dry because I feared the words of the advisor that I needed to act before reinforcements arrived.

    I look forward to studying your advice in detail as it relates to TW game mechanics. Even before I get into the nitty gritty of following your advice on how to conduct the standard battle guidelines (such as formation and the rock-scissors-paper of the unit types I have three basic TW mechanics questions.

    1. When I decide that a unit needs to fall back and regroup I initially had the group march to the rear then I had to have it turn around to face the enemy by a short countermarch. Otherwise, all they are doing is presenting their backsides to the enemy. So I started using the Fall Back button. So which is better: march them to the rear and in turn give them a very short march back towards the enemy or use the fallback button. You mention that Fall back tended in early versions of the scenario to cause the units to rout. However, you say that is not so much the situation now.

    2. I did not know that TW has a slo-motion command. Where do I find that? Would that be the T key (Cycle Battle Speed)?

    3. My most common issue on flanking now is that I work my cavalry on infantry to attack from the rear and before I realize the AI brings up another unit to attack THAT unit in the rear. I can't seem to get the AI to send the whole army forward. Heheh.
  • hoomhoom Posts: 83Registered Users
    Not waiting once you're in the battle but on the campaign map before your army marches to Salerum.
    In the recent TW titles units with depleted numbers will automatically refill back to full strength over several turns on the campaign map.
    Just hit End Turn instead, the scenario tells you to hurry but its not actually forcing you to do it first turn.

    Yes, pulling them back & facing enemy again is the best way to bring a unit out to rest.
    You can see the unit fatigue status on the tooltip that comes up: Fresh, Active, Winded, Tired, Very Tired & Exhausted
    Only really need to worry when they get Very Tired & Exhausted in my experience & even then most of the time its better to have tired units fighting on a flank than let your other units fight on their own.

    Withdraw button causes the unit to rout off the map, the function hasn't changed as far as I'm aware.
    its just the usefulness of actually doing that which changed.

    Yes T is one way of controlling speed, depending on which GUI options you have enabled you should see a speed bar bottom right or top right I think, you can click to set Pause, Slo-mo, Normal, Fast, Extra Fast.

    Yes AI does try to defend threatened units, sometimes you can kite them unit away with one unit while you dive in for the kill with another, other times you just need to bring enough units to fight off the defenders.

    Don't be afraid to practice with Custom Battles using only 1 or a few units each side, its a good way to get an understanding of relative strengths of units & how to execute tactics.
    maybe those guys should be doing something more useful...
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