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Using Spartan Hoplites effectively.

EricMillerEricMiller Junior MemberPosts: 12Registered Users
edited June 2012 in Rome: Total War
Hello Forum Population:
After watching the movie 300 I have decided to play the single player campaign as the Greek cities, using only Spartan Hoplites (and maybe a few mercenaries if needed). I have a number of questions about different strategies:

Question 1:
How can I protect my Spartans from artillery that they are vulnerable to?( arrows, javelins, onager rocks, scorpions, etc.) Besides wide formation, I don't know about any other defense and breaking the phalanx usually isn't a good idea so please provide any advice that you can. Any general tips or strategies for using the phalanx and Spartan troops will be appreciated as well.
Question 2: I know that the V formation for lining up Spartan Hoplites in a v shape at the mouth of bridges is an effective way to destroy incoming forces, but can it be applied to the same effect in defense of a wall breach in a Greek city being invaded? I considered placing the V formation at the opening of the breach, but would this be more or less effective than the solid wall phalanx that they are known for? Also any other applications or formations is welcome advice.
Question 3: Spies and assassins are very effective offensively but what about defensively? I know that if you have an assassin in your city it will kill any spies that try to invade it, but what about keeping assassins with your generals troops to prevent assassinations? Any other advice or suggested use on using Assassins and spies defensively is welcome as well. Please feel free to post if you can answer any of these questions, or offer any other advice.
Thanks in advance,
Eric
Post edited by EricMiller on

Comments

  • The KestrelThe Kestrel Senior Member Posts: 850Registered Users
    edited May 2012
    1. Spartan Hoplites or Armoured Hoplites are nearly immune to missile attacks. Only pila, or true artillery can destroy you reliably. Artillery is neither common nor accurate enough to threaten you, and the Romans do not rely on their pila enough to break you. In battles, you should seek to force the enemy to attack. In single-player, you can corner camp without being unethical.

    2. You should never lose a defensive siege with phalanx infantry. You can either defend the streets leading to the central square or defend breaches with three units, one to either side of the breech and a third just back from the breech. Defense at the breech works best for cities with less sophisticated defenses. In developed cities defending from the ground will permit the attackers to capture your towers and use them against you. To avert this threat, deploy to block access to the central square but give up the peripheral areas of the city.

    3. Agents are out of my area of expertise.

    *Note* Spartans are not a practical approach because of their high upkeep and the large infrastructure necessary to recruit and retrain them. You should employ other units. Your historical justification can come from the fact that young men served as peltasts until they came into adulthood and from the fact that the Spartans allied with other cities, who would have supplied hoplites of lesser quality.
  • TheImperatorofRomeTheImperatorofRome Senior Member Posts: 556Registered Users
    edited May 2012
    agreed. Spartans also take two turns to train which is AGES if you want to make a spartan army. Armoured hoplites are great for being the core of a phalanx army, spartans are just the elites that you send in to clean up the mess.

    Now, agents......Having an assassin or spy in a army with a general is basically the same as with a city. Assassins will counter any attempts made by another assassin and spies will see other spies and stop them from infiltrating the army.

    I hope this all helps ya :)
  • Khan DEVASTATORKhan DEVASTATOR Senior Member Posts: 917Registered Users
    edited May 2012
    I suggest you hire as many Cretan archers as you can since the Greek archers tend to be awfully weak compared to the Archer Auxilliary of the Marian reforms. Armoured Hoplites are pretty tough but may still rout if they've seen a few too many pila. Its tough to win as the Greeks - took me a looong time to complete the game with them (Selucids are even harder). You may want to go after the Roman factions right away before they get too strong. Scythia will be tough too with all those archers as hoplites don't move too fast.
  • CorpiusCorpius Moderator Posts: 866Registered Users, Moderators
    edited May 2012
    1. Spartan Hoplites or Armoured Hoplites are nearly immune to missile attacks.

    It should be noted however that when taking sustained archer fire, Armoured Hoplites last longer than spartans, despite the latter's higher number of hit points.

    Intresting approach btw. Relying entirely on spartans might create some mobility issues, which, if needs be can be countered somewhat by breaking the phalanx formation and move the troops where they need to be in standard formation quickly before returning to pahlanx formation.

    An other issue to keep in mind, and what goes for all phalanx units, is that they perform poorly on the walls when assaulting a city. So (especially when facing heavy - roman- infantry on the walls) when trying to take cities, you might have to take it slow and force the enemy to sally.
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  • WiskeyBobWiskeyBob Senior Member Posts: 257Registered Users
    edited May 2012
    Seems wholly impossible to me. I've played several Greek campaigns and I couldn't help but turn Athens and Sparta into ghost towns every time in order to expand and secure my borders. Because of that I had Asia Minor, Italy, Thrace and North Africa by the time I had access to them. You could also just get tons of slaves into Sparta (the only town that can recruit Spartans, aside from Athens I think), but then you still have to wait a long time doing nothing, only to be bankrupted by such an expensive unit. But I may as well give some pointers.

    Strategy with Spartans is pointless, the only thing you need to worry about with them is to not get outflanked. They would be excellent swordsmen if they had one hitpoint, but on top of that they have two hitpoints and phalanx formation. Unless the AI masses artillery or pila (they won't), the only problem is horse archers, and that's where mercenaries come in. Greeks are dependent on mercenaries because local archers and cavalry is rubbish. Greek archers work in a pinch because they're cheaper than Cretans, but they don't have the range or the skill for anything but screening roles, in which peltasts are just as good. Greek cavalry can beat archers and are fast, that is it. They lose to probably every other light cavalry in the game.

    Also, while it is true that it's a waste to send them to attack walls, you hardly need to anyway. Greeks get onagers and heavy onagers, which you can use to destroy towers, and sappers can bring down the walls. Once you reach the roads leading to the town center, hoplites are nigh-invincible. Defending towns is even easier, with the only threat being other pikes. If the enemy doesn't employ any, then just use one unit of hoplites to block every road leading to the plaza, and another to back them up in-case they get crushed by heavy cavalry.

    Hope my little guide helps.
  • The KestrelThe Kestrel Senior Member Posts: 850Registered Users
    edited May 2012
    I really enjoyed the seleucid campaign. Phalanxes beat all the city battles and a spam army of scythed chariots runs over anything in deserts or plains. The result is near-invincible armies. Only post-Marian reform centurions are a real threat, and even they can be beaten.
  • TheImperatorofRomeTheImperatorofRome Senior Member Posts: 556Registered Users
    edited May 2012
    @The Kestrel centurions? u mean legionnarie cohorts :)


    Having an all Spartan army is kinda stupid practically. Its way to expensive to upkeep and train and they are only good in one situation (open plain battles). Mixing one ot two spartans with a core of Armoured Hoplites, Cretan Archers, Peltasts and some good merc cav is the way to go for a powerful Greek army imo
  • Khan DEVASTATORKhan DEVASTATOR Senior Member Posts: 917Registered Users
    edited May 2012
    Having an all Spartan army is kinda stupid practically.............


    Well, unless you were the Spartans of course. They seemed to manage ok :D
  • TheImperatorofRomeTheImperatorofRome Senior Member Posts: 556Registered Users
    edited May 2012
    lol. good point
  • The KestrelThe Kestrel Senior Member Posts: 850Registered Users
    edited May 2012
    Oh sorry, yes I did mean cohorts.

    The Spartans did manage to pull off the elite military, but they also only had one city to worry about. You will need to concentrate on your entire empire. This project will be extremely challenging, especially since at the beginning you won't even be able to recruit them at most cities.
  • EricMillerEricMiller Junior Member Posts: 12Registered Users
    edited May 2012
    All good points, I will be hiring merc archers, cavalry, etc. to support the Spartan army as I will not be able to crank out that many at first. I will be using mercs throughout the entire campaign as support as well. During the first part of the game I will focus solely on economics to be able to fund them as well as hiring lesser troops in the beginning. After enslaving enough cities with mercs and lesser Greek troops I will be able to upgrade my two cities enough to be able to produce the Spartans. As for cost and upkeep yes they are expensive, but they are worth every penny in combat(or every denari). I'm also considering employing an onager into combat, like one for every general's army. Just to cause a bit of chaos in enemy ranks and cause them to rout faster. I was wondering: Is it better to use flaming rocks or just rocks? I know the flaming kind reduces accuracy a bunch and also causes more damage, but what are the odds that it will hit my own troops? If there is a decent chance it will destroy Spartans then it is not worth the risk but if it is rare then it would be a calculated risk.
  • The KestrelThe Kestrel Senior Member Posts: 850Registered Users
    edited May 2012
    Onagers are really for breaking down walls so that sieges happen in one turn (remember to destroy the towers too; they will destroy phalanxes at high level fortifications). If you must use them against troops, I seem to remember fire was best for massed infantry and rocks were best for cavalry. Don't even bother shooting quick units or skirmishers, now hitting a testudo with fire...
  • CheChe Senior Member Posts: 804Registered Users
    edited May 2012
    A lot of (veteran?) players say that the TW games are too easy. Therefore, I reckon your Spartan idea might be a satisfying game for people who want more of a challenge. :D

    BTW, if I remember correctly, the Spartans often or always had auxiliary soldiers who were not Spartans, fighting alongside them. Certainly at the Battle of Thermopylae, soldiers from other cities fought alongside them. :)
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  • EricMillerEricMiller Junior Member Posts: 12Registered Users
    edited May 2012
    Ya you're right i will be using other forces as well to support my Spartan Army, mostly mercenaries but other lesser Greek troops as well. The challenge will be in raising the mostly Spartan army in the first place and will be a good challenge for me, which is why I like the idea of doing it. I will be using mostly mercenaries because you can send them in first and if they win then great, but I don't really mind losing them either. They will mostly serve to thin the enemy ranks before they reach the Spartans.
  • flamingryu30flamingryu30 Senior Member Posts: 884Registered Users
    edited May 2012
    My advice is to remember to use cavalry heck you could even use Greek Cav to a degree now I know everyone prob gonna be all like "Oh don't do that Greek Cav sucks it's the worst in the game!" But the thing is if you use your cavalry tactically even the Greek Cav are good. Now don't think I am saying always just rush in some Greek Cav cuz I'm not but they are good for getting rid of siege equipment and missile troops and heck maybe a well placed hammer and anvil move here and there but ya I have used them well that way just you have to know how to use your troops.
  • aceskipperaceskipper Member Posts: 52Registered Users
    edited June 2012
    1. If in phalanx formation, most of the missiles will just hit the shields.

    2. Nah, don't put them in a v formation by a wall. You would think that the AI would just send in units one at a time and get them slaughtered but most of the units are sent in at once and they manage to force your units back and gain lots of space. It's ok if they send cavalry in first but if you are against a good unit for example the legionary first cohort, you will lose. The best thing to do is to send all your men half way through the breach making it more confined which means less enemies and less space to attack. Just make sure you are in defensive mode because the last thing you want is all ypour men running outside the walls just to be slaughtered.

    3. If you have a big enough army you don't need to worry.
    "Bonaparte has often made his boast that our fleet would be worn out by keeping the sea and that his was kept in order and increasing by staying in port; but know he finds, I fancy, if Emperors hear the truth, that his fleet suffers more in a night than ours in one year."
    -Horatio Nelson
  • MaximusdecimusmeridiusMaximusdecimusmeridius Senior Member Posts: 210Registered Users
    edited June 2012
    The "Spartan" part of the Spartan army (the Spartiates) was actually very small compared to the rest of the army, which I think was composed of the slave classes. Those could probably be represented by militia hoplites in RTW. The actual number of spartiates was always in decline during the time period of RTW and they were basically an outdated soldier after the rise of the macedonian phalanx (and even before that).
  • CorpiusCorpius Moderator Posts: 866Registered Users, Moderators
    edited June 2012
    EricMiller wrote: »
    All good points, I will be hiring merc archers, cavalry, etc. to support the Spartan army as I will not be able to crank out that many at first. I will be using mercs throughout the entire campaign as support as well. During the first part of the game I will focus solely on economics to be able to fund them as well as hiring lesser troops in the beginning. After enslaving enough cities with mercs and lesser Greek troops I will be able to upgrade my two cities enough to be able to produce the Spartans. As for cost and upkeep yes they are expensive, but they are worth every penny in combat(or every denari). I'm also considering employing an onager into combat, like one for every general's army. Just to cause a bit of chaos in enemy ranks and cause them to rout faster. I was wondering: Is it better to use flaming rocks or just rocks? I know the flaming kind reduces accuracy a bunch and also causes more damage, but what are the odds that it will hit my own troops? If there is a decent chance it will destroy Spartans then it is not worth the risk but if it is rare then it would be a calculated risk.

    I shamelessly took your idea and am currently playing a greek cities campaign with field armies consiting of one general (an "of sparta" familiy member obviously) 18 spartan hoplites and 1 greek cavalry for rout hunting purposes; just being the one cavalry unit their tactical value is next to nothing anyway. Some greatly expierenced from the recruiting city in Sparta thanks to the temple of Nike bonusses.

    I have no finanical problems whatsoever, the economy in RTW is neigh indestructible anyway, let alone when starting with the Greeks. Even "bought" me some settlements, Athens, Massila, Cyrene and Kydonia all fell to my bribes. (Massila was "re-bought" twice after the britons bribed it from me... twice) Only using militia -and hoplites in defence of my cities. Ruined the Roman's factions' day by having a constant stream of spies who've kept the scripted plague alive through out Italy for so long the largest city has less than 3000 inhabitants. Both Julian starting regions are down to the 400 minimum.

    Early republican Roman forces don't stand a chance against a decent size spartan hoplites force. I've had battles killing over 4000 romans and losing barely 100 spartans. Got a steady stream of "reinforcements" just a few turns behind the main force to replenish losses and then send the remaning units back to sparta/syracuse for retraining. Early game my naval strategy paid off handsomely, I recommend that to be one of your early focus points, open ports are vital.

    Now I just sieged plague wrecked Croton with my second field army, my first is working their way up in Illyria, and will sweep into Italy from the north.
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  • chenshaschenshas Junior Member Posts: 26Registered Users
    edited June 2012
    actualy with the selucids mix catapratchs with pikemen and archers to togther the perfect army
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