So I was talking to King Ameya (who often comments on my Rise of Nations posts). He was mentioning that the previous post on Heavy Cavalry was actually a lesson on raiding.
For those who are new to the game, raiding is a concept where you use a small armed force to take down the economy of the opposing nation by attacking commercial resources (merchants, caravans, timber mill, mines, etc). That way, you generate resources whereas your opponent is struggling to get off a good start.
At the advanced levels, rushing is considered to be an amateur tactic and a pro can easily fend off a rush. What works instead is constant raiding and an expert can actually bring down opponents by doing this the entire game.
The best way to showcase this is by giving you a recording of a game that I played with King Ameya. He was Iroquois and I was Bantu. It was pre-decided that he is going to raid and I thought that let’s boom for a change and see how much could a raid impact my economy.
See for yourself!
At the end of the game, I had four cities, but virtually zero resources and no barracks to fend myself. Two of those cities fell at the same time and I had to give in. Raiding can be lethal if carried out properly.
Some points to note –
Scout early and scout often; by the 3rd minute Ameya had the entire map scoured and almost all the ruins were consumed for resources
Small attacks, first aimed at merchants and caravans, then at villagers and resources
Raiding gives you resources, having a Despot increases your gains
You do not need a massive force to deal the final blow
A major part of all Alexander the Great’s battle strategy included cavalry. The light cavalry for quick raids (which I shall cover in a separate post) and the heavy cavalry (or his Companions as the vanguard unit).
In fact the fall of Alexander was largely attributed due to a mutiny amongst his vanguard troops.
Learn from history
A liberal use of heavy cavalry units right from the start of the game can really make a difference between a well fought battle and a whooping victory. Here’s how –
When I was playing a random map, I was given Mongols (but I mistook them for Lakota!! mea culpa!!). Fortunately, my strategy was unaffected by misinterpretation, I still was going to make Stables, and raid early with cavalry, and then focus on an army of heavy cavalry. The map style was Himalayas, so that helped!
Start booming and race to Age II. Have a barracks ready and some defense troops.
After Age II, go Mil2 and Sci2
Build a Stable, and get a Despot
Have 2 Heavy Cavs, and 2 Horse archers ready. This alongwith the Despot is your flash army.
The flash army can move fast (doubly so if used forced march), ambush and patrol the enemy territory for taking out merchants, caravans and resource buildings
It can also hold a sizeable army until you build defenses and/or send reinforcements
Start building your main army slowly and steadily using the resources from raiding while your flash army keeps the enemy engaged. I prefer to build a separate artillery force (3 trebuchets and a supply wagon) and make an attack on one of the outposts
A small bit of micro-management and you should get one of the computer’s cities
The cool part about focusing on Heavy cavalry on a map like Himalayas is that wood and iron is abundant, so siege weapons come easily.
Even if you fail at doing well early on the game, keep your heavy cavs alive and they turn into formidable tanks!
I myself am not that big into cavalry, but today while mistakenly taking the Mongols for Lakota, I realized just about how awesome they can be. I had roughly 4-5 HI, 2 bowmen, 6-7 Heavy cavs, a despot, 4 cannons and a supply wagon with some heavy archers to spare (Mongols, get them free for each stable, so did not keep a count, although I had 3 stables). Almost all of my food came from raiding and sacks.