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- 国土面积与你等量齐观，但是军事上不如你（ 军队规模更小、依赖轻步兵，或者虽然军队规模差距不大但有相当一部分都是事件部队）
- 在你的法理 王国或帝国之中
Deploy wherever you want, whenever you want
Another advantage of the use of ships is that you will be granted vision over all counties neighbouring the sea region they are in. Cutting off reinforcements by disembarking between them and the main army, raid the enemy capital or surprise your enemy by disembarking your troops right in front of theirs becomes very easy with ships.
Due to their great mobility, armies embarked on ships are hard to draw in unwanted confrontation. It becomes very simple to concentrate your forces to gain local numerical advantage even against an overwhelming but dispersed enemy.
For instance, with a 15k army embarked on ships, killing off several armies of 10k soldiers raiding different parts of your empire can be very easy, as the total amount of troops become irrelevant. The only thing that matters is how much strength you'll be able to apply in one particular point, and thanks to your ships you, and not your enemy, will always have this local numerical superiority as long as the fighting takes place on a coast.
Lure your enemies
This particular tactic comes in handy when you are facing a slightly weaker enemy. Such enemies are hard to smash during battles, because the combats will end and the enemies rout even before your troops will get a chance to massacre theirs in a melee phase. In order to force them to fight decisive battles, ships are very useful.
If you leave a small contingent on the coast, and embark the remainder of your soldiers on ships, the AI will only notice this contingent and not the bulk of your army once it'll be in high seas. It won't resist the temptation to smash these soldiers before continuing its way.
The AI will then engage battle, and your land army collapse. One or two days before these are routed, comes the time to disembark your army right in the middle of the battle. After a few days, it will land, and count as a reinforcement to your routed contingent.
As such, your disembarked troops will immediately engage in melee. Given you have enough troops to win despite the Amphibious disembarkment combat modifier and/or the -50% morale your troops will have, your troops will be able to destroy utterly the enemies. Very few soldiers will survive on their side, and you'll have earned a whopping amount of warscore.
Master the land with the seas
Due to the benefits listed above, an efficient coordination between naval and land forces can grant an enormous advantage to the player when it comes to battle, while the AI is very weak on this specific point. However, naval units can also serve assymetric warfare.
When facing a very strong enemy, or after a crushing defeat, naval units may represent your last resort to overthrow the situation.
First, they can help to de-occupy terrain that is near the seas. By landing your depleted army on the rear of the frontline, and assaulting freshly lost territory, you can ruin months of siege efforts from your enemy in a week.
Second, when your war targets a coastal Duchy or Kingdom, first occupy when you land a coastal county. Then, as your occupation and battling goes on, always try to have an occupied port with your fleet in it close to the province you are in. It will provide a safe and quick escape route should an overwhelming enemy army appear to squash your forces, like it often happens in Crusades.
Last, embarking your troops systematically on ships, even if you border your enemy's land, may ensure that your troops will never get trapped again in a confrontation with an enemy army. In addition, it will greatly speed up your rhythm of operations, thanks to the extraordinary naval mobility. As such, you'll be able to quickly exploit an opportunity to weaken the domineering enemy should one appear. Time is precious when at war, and ships help you to save a lot of it.
The Cycle of War
In order to maximise your efficiency during your conquests, you'll need to be able to see when to act and how to act at anytime in sometimes very unstable conditions. Knowing the cycle of war in CKII will allow you to be victorious even in very dire situations, while preserving as much as possible your strength for future challenges.
This phase immediately follows the war declaration, or the entrance of a new actor in the conflict. It is the phase of deployment and of the first skirmishes, and as such it mustn't be neglected if you wish to dominate your opponent right from the beginning.
Organise your army
First of all, you'll need to rally your forces, composed of your levies, your retinues and sometimes mercenaries and holy orders. In doing so, you'll have to decide which forces to use and how to divide them. Deploying and moving across the map takes time, so you'll need to decide right at the beginning of your priotities.
With a small realm, it is often better to stack up all your can in a single army. It will be easier to follow, easier to control, and anyways your resources are too limited to reasonably hope to win if you divide your forces against your enemy. Deploy your army as close to the frontline as you can, and do so as fast as possible.
With a larger empire, and especially when facing another large realm or empire, you'll need to have a higher degree of organisation. Think carefully before proceeding about which path your enemy's armies will follow to attack you, and plan accordingly. As occupation warscore doesn't scale down much with enormous realm sizes, even the loss of a single border duchy can sink your warscore by 30-45%. This, coupled to more occupation and a minor defeat in battle can mean the end of the war for you. As such, protecting all of your borders is a priority, even before thinking about attacking. The ideal army size for a campaigning army is about 15k. If you have several times this number in your troops, it might be better to create another corps to watch the border while your other corps attacks, than to send both on a hazardous expedition without protecting your territory. Place your reserve army at key points (mountain passes, large counties) from where you'll be able to deploy it quickly if ever it is needed, for instance on a coast.
Define your early campaign objectives
After gathering, you'll need to act as soon as possible. Depending on whether you attack or defend, you'll need to ensure first access, then vision over the contested region.
Access is especially important when the target is overseas or far away, for instance during a Crusade or a Jihad. Having a safe and quick access to the disputed region will allow you to send reinforcements, such as mercenaries, to the bulk of your army without suffering significant losses on the way. It will also, if the situation requires you to do so, allow for a safe retreat route and a quick access to a territory where your depleted army will be able to reinforce.
If the territory is well integrated to your empire or surrounded by allied lands, access should be ensured. However, if the targeted region is overseas, isolated or if the only way to access it from your territory is to pass by or through enemy lands, then you'll have to strengthen your position. This will require you to occupy neighbouring lands, or to take over a coastal county/duchy near the disputed region to ensure that the location of the operations' theatre won't be a problem for you.
While defending, try also to complicate the enemy's access to the land. Following the same criteria as above, occupying away from your enemy isolated or weakly connected territories will deliver a first blow to your enemy, while reducing the frontline's length and hampering his economy and reinforcement rates.
Along with access, vision is also important to have. Knowing where your enemy's armies are gathered and where they are heading will give you a significant advantage, and allow you to plan your campaign in consequence. Checking the command icons of the enemy ruler and his commanders, and following their path will allow you to anticipate the regions where their armies are heading, and then determine whether to face them or not. Deploying your spymaster or another councillor in enemy territory will give you more detailed intelligence, and allow you to choose the best option to face them.
After the initiation phase, come either the Combat or the Besieging phases.
During this part of the war, your goal is to massacre all of the enemy's armies, by hunting them down and preventing their reinforcement. This phase is the decisive one of any war, as depending of its outcome either you or your enemy will be able to take the advantage and accumulate warscore. As such, you must plan carefully when to trigger the combat part, as an untimely or reckless offensive may lead to utter disaster.
The best times to start fighting are:
- When your army is gathered and your enemy's is not, in order to profit of its dispersion.
- When defending with enough forces to challenge the attacker and none of your territories are occupied.
- When you have occupied some territory, but the enemy army is already there de-occupying the freshly conquered holdings
- When you have already accumulated significant occupation warscore by occupying the contestes region, and pursuing the besieging/assaulting would hamper your chances to repel an enemy offensive.
- When an enemy army is busy occupying your territory, and puts significant military and economic pressure on your shoulders.
Use your commanders well
During this phase, you'll need to maximise the combat efficiency of your army. commanders will be useful to deploy quickly your armies where the enemy is, and to hunt down the enemy army if it tries to escape battle. Once battle is about to begin, you'll have to choose between damage and defense commanders. Damage is useful when victory is assured, and your goal is to kill as many enemies as possible. On the contrary, defense and morale-boosting commanders will prove useful at turning the tide of war in one hopeless, decisive battle.
Preserve your strength
As a rule, never fight battles if you don't think victory is achievable, or if you don't think a defeat would still deliver a severe blow to the enemy. Your goal is to accumulate warscore, so you should always be extremely careful when choosing which armies to engage and where to engage them. One crushing defeat is enough to erase the benefits of many victories.
After the battle phase, come either the Besieging, the Retreat or the Observation phases.
This phase consists mainly in besieging enemy holdings and liberating your occupied holdings, although you might sometimes have to engage in a battle to prevent a dangerous enemy army to ruin your efforts.
Ideal moments to trigger this phase are:
- When the enemy army is at shambles, after a successful battle phase
- When the enemy army is distracted elsewhere or still gathering, as it will allow you to reap some easy warscore
- When you only need a few more points to end the war
- When you lost many territories to the enemy, but you managed to dispose of the occupying army.
Mind not to overstretch
The major risk during this phase is the one of overstretching your forces. Siege events, such as a sally from the defenders or epidemics may occur, and kill off around 10% of your besieging army at once, and sometimes one or several commanders. Several of these events may swing away the balance of power in the conflict, and leave your depleted army vulnerable to a vigorous counterattack. Also, be mindful not to venture too deep into the enemy's territory, as it will both make your army vulnerable to a surprise attack, and leave your home provinces almost defenceless if you didn't leave a defensive corps there.
Keep your eyes out for the enemy
Monitoring your enemy's moves is especially important during this phase, as while it takes several weeks or many soldiers to siege/assault a holding, it is very easy to recapture a recently lost territory and to ruin all of the attacker's efforts. You'll need to be able to tell at any time where the enemy army is, in order to avoid the bad surprise to see a vast territory your army took time to take suddenly liberated by an army that appeared out of nowhere while you were busy occupying some other territory.
After the Besieging phase, may come the Retreat, the Battle or the Observation phase.
This phase follows a crushing defeat at battle, or an unforeseen reinforcement of the enemy's armies leading to a prudent withdrawal of yours. Retreat must be carefully planned, as an orderly retreat can effectively limit a disaster's significance and prepare for a prompt counterattack.
Find a falling point
First, you'll need to choose a falling point. This falling point needs to be allied or part of your territory to allow for reinforcement, and to be isolated or protected well enough to prevent the enemy from delivering the fatal blow to your forces. Ideally, it should be an island near the combat theatre (like Chypre), or any territory located at least at 4 counties from the frontline.
Prevent a collapse
Then, you'll need to ensure the retreating goes smoothly, and doesn't end up in the collapse of your frontline. If you are decisively losing a battle, it is preferrable to right-click on your falling point before the end of the battle, in order to force the army to retreat there and not on a random territory like it usually does. You'll save precious time doing so. Also, if you have a reserve army available, you'll need to redeploy it to prevent the enemy army from exploiting their victory through occupation.
While retreating, your main concern should be to prevent the enemy from exploiting your withdrawal. With the reserve army, if the enemy cannot be openly challenged, you'll have to slow it down (by running away and having the enemy army follow it) or to limit its impact, by de-occupying any holdings lost as soon as the enemy army leaves the region. If you manage this delicate part well, final victory may still be achievable.
Muster your strength
Once your army successfully retreated, try to leave it reinforce as much as possible instead of trying to counterattack recklessly. It is only when you feel it has reinforced enough to challenge the enemy army again, or if you think you can't do without it anymore, that you should redeploy it. Once redeployed, your main goal should be to counterattack and beat the enemy army, by all means possible.
After this phase, come usually the Besieging or Battle phases.
This phase is one of waiting and intelligence gathering. If you are heavily outnumbered and can't take the risk to send your armies on the offensive, then you'll have to wait for the enemy to show up and then act in consequence.
Gather intelligence and plan
Although your armies will be idle during this phase, once deployed to their defensive positions, you certainly won't. This time should be used to foster alliances, gather intelligence on your enemy's actions, recruit whatever mercenaries and holy orders you can afford to field and trying to find how to get yourself out of this dire situation before the enemy shows up. As such, this phase, although stressful, will have a decisive impact on the future operations and the outcome of the war.
To conclude, knowing the cycle of war will allow you to skillfully exploit the time and forces at your disposals, giving you a decisive advantage over a very often erratic AI. Managing well its different phases and the transitions between each one will preserve your forces for greater challenge, and in the end you'll be able to spend virtually all your time at war without ever being overrun by the events and the enemy forces.
Managing Diverse Conflicts
While expanding, one cannot ensure that he will always have a single enemy to face, and a single war to win. As such, he needs to know how to react when facing multiple enemies at a time, in order to both preserve its territory and prevent a situation similar to this one from happening again.
Concentrating your troops
While one can be tempted to divide its armies between the multiple fronts, in order to leave none undefended, it is most of the times a terrible idea. Your enemies' forces won't be divided, and even if you have a large enough numerical superiority to be able to fight with equal numbers on all fronts, your attention won't be able to manage efficiently such a variety of theatres and battles simultaneously and you won't be able to mobilise your best commanders at multiple places at a time. As such, troop concentrations should stay as high as they can be in order to maintain your advantage.
Your priority should be to conclude as many wars as you can in the shortest time possible. As such, you'll need to have one or two armies, maybe three, in order to have a large superiority in these theatres. Depending on your current progresses, it is up to you to decide whether to reach 100% or to crave for white peace in each conflict. The fact that you are facing multiple enemies should not change your overall war philosophy; redeployments make you lose precious time, and time is precisely what you need the most when facing multiple enemies. It is only by eliminating meticulously the moment's easiest threat to dispose of that you'll be able to reduce with minimal losses the amount of enemies you'll have to face.
But you will need also to prevent a total disaster in the other fronts, where you won't have left any serious opposition to your enemies. As such, mobility will become extremely important for your survival. If you manage to concentrate the right amount of troops at the right time and at the right place, you will eventually emerge victorious. In order to do so, ships are of the prime importance. Even if your territory doesn't stretch overseas, using them to do quick jumps along the coastline in order to redeploy on the other side of your realm will make you save a colossal and extremely precious amount of time. An will also be of crucial help, as he will help you to relocate your troops as fast as possible by land at the place where they are needed the most.
Your role in this situation is the one of a fireman surrounded by fire; you cannot just leave, and leave all be shattered by the flames. Thus, you'll need to destroy what you can do in a minimal amount of time, while preventing any threat to become so serious that you won't be able to repel their attacks. It will be up to you to strike when required, and to stave off your enemies.
Getting out honourably of unnecessary conflicts
Even if ideally, you should be able to win all your wars, there are some times where there are too many enemies, or where they are far too overwhelming to even hope to win your war against them. Luckily enough, you may be able to reach some exit doors from these, preserving your strength and attention for other, more balanced confrontations.
The first exit door is obtaining white peace. It is preferably used in defensive wars, as it will grant you some Prestige and your attacker will have a 10 year truce with you, which will keep him out of your preoccupations for a while. It is relatively difficult however to obtain it in a defensive war, as you will need positive warscore for your aggressor to accept it. On the offensive, it should be used against a faraway enemy or when your target called on mighty allies, in order to preserve your offensive capabilities for other, more important wars. Generally, as you declared war, you will have fought for some time already, and gotten some warscore, which makes white peace easier to obtain offensively than defensively. 30% warscore or more is normally enough for AI acceptance, and it can be reached even against an overwhelming enemy by quickly assaulting its demesne in a county where there are numerous cities and churches (less fortified than castles, and they give out more warscore).
If white peace is impossible to reach, due to a negative warscore and a dire military situation, you will be forced to consider surrendering against one of some of your opponents. Consider well the losses it will incur to your realm, as your goal is to spare your forces a lost and costly fight, not to weaken them more than they already are. Surrendering on offensive wars is rarely an option, as the amount of war reparations you'd have to pay will probably put you in bankrupt, which will greatly hamper your capacity to win the other wars. As such, surrendering to defensive wars is to be preferred. Surrender in priority to:
- Wars targeting a single county or holding, but which leaves you in control of the de jure duchy. Once all your wars will be ended, you will be able to easily regain control of it through a de jure claim.
- Wars against an overwhelming enemy, which has largely greater numbers than you. As your troops will have a lot of trouble facing their armies, it is preferable to surrender in order to spare their strength for more accessible foes.
- Wars targeting multiple holdings which are outside of your de jure territory. They won't be among the most productive ones, and will regularly produce rebellious vassals which will be more likely than the others to join factions.
- Wars caused by factions, as long as they are not threatening directly your control of the realm. Factions to increase council power are among these.
However, if any war which meets one or multiple of these conditions targets directly your demesne, it is preferable to continue fighting. As the core of your power, and your main source of both levies and revenue, it will have a critical role to play in your other ongoing conflicts, and losing a demesne county will slightly weaken your war effort. The only case where it is acceptable to do it is when it has the Recently conquered modifier, as it renders your province nearly useless for all its duration.
Keeping hold on your budget
When facing multiple opponents at a time, mastering your budget is of prime importance. Resorting to mercenaries might be necessary to win crucial battles when your numbers don't match the ones of your enemies; however, using large bands will be very costly, both at the time of their recruitment and over time due to their maintenance fees. As such, one must carefully consider the right time to use them, and to which troops resort. Note that they are not suited prolonged sieges; for all the time they'll be sitting around a castle to siege, you'll pay several times their recruitment cost, which may cause a bankruptcy. Mercenaries should then be either recruited for battle, or for assaulting, for the shortest period possible.
For battle, you'll have to consider that each mercenary band you hire starts with 0 Morale, slowly recovering it over time. In order to time well the time when you'll use them, you'll thus need to do it about a month or two before the actual battle, in order to leave them time both to recover their morale and to join to them the rest of your forces. When the time will come, you'll have to consider carefully to which troops you'll resort;
- Skirmishers (like most Oriental bands, and the Nomadic ones, composed of , , , ) can be very useful to crush dispersed, small enemy armies or to complement your regular army if it is composed mainly of Melee-based troops (like European and Indian ones). On the other hand, they will be weak in battle against a large or elite enemy army (as the Melee phase will be unavoidable), and also in assaults, as their melee attack value is low. They can be both inexpensive, if composed of archers and light infantry, or extremely costly, if they are based on cavalry.
- Melee-based mercenary bands (like most European ones, and Holy Orders, composed of , , , ) can be precious in very large battles, as they'll be able to slaughter hundreds or even thousands of enemy soldiers during the melee phase. They are best used in large numbers as shock reinforcements, when one or several of your flanks are retreating until they arrive on the place of battle and lock the unsuspecting enemy in a bloody melee. They are also very useful in assaults, due to their high morale, defence and melee attack. However, their cost is most of the time very high, second only to the largest steppe mercenary bands.
For assaults, there is a slight difference between skirmishers- and melee-based armies. While the first ones contribute mostly with their morale damage and high numbers, the melee-based armies form the core of the attacking force and are far more effective. The best assaulting armies are formed of and , as they have very high defence and attack potential concentrated in little numbers, allowing them to suffer less losses and thus less morale damage than . However, if you are forced to siege, it might be preferable to resort to low-quality skirmisher armies, which are both inexpensive and numerous. As troop quality has little influence over the periodic morale hit the besieged will suffer, they are the best solution to both speed up the siege while spending as little as possible.
Your budget will also have to be used in other ways than to purely supplement mercenaries. Your personal levies also have a costly maintenance fee, and often smaller realms will be deficit with them raised. This implies to either refrain their use, or to stockpile a colossal amount of money to provide for a lengthy mobilisation. Sparing a significant part for gifts will allow you to form more alliances and convince talented commanders to join your court and your armies, including the ones serving your enemies, if possible.
Also, you might have to keep some of your funds in reserve. This reserve is crucial by three aspects:
- First, it will provide a cushion to provide for unexpected expenses. When one of your demesne holdings is occupied or raided, the attacker will pillage 15-50 gold, depending on the holding type. This gold will be taken from your chests regardless of your financial situation, meaning that if you don't have the required funds, you will get bankrupt.
- Second, it will allow you to continue administrating your kingdom as if war wasn't at your doors. Many aleatory events, which are beneficial for your character (such as the Icon sponsoring one for characters), require you to pay a little amount of money. If your situation is not critical, the reserve will allow you to continue solidifying your dynasty's capacities and grip on the realm without compromising your war effort.
- Last, this reserve will be there to be used if you are forced to surrender on an offensive war, and thus to pay reparations to the defender in order to avoid bankruptcy, which can be prolonged if your income is near 0 and the other conflicts you're involved in keep on raging for a long time.
Keep in mind though that these dispositions are to be made right at the beginning of a war. If you haven't prepared, or haven't enough income to stockpile, then you'll have to manage your expenses to prevent bankruptcy. While it is merely annoying at peace, getting bankrupt in the middle of a war is terrible. Apart from the -25% morale and thus strength your troops will have, negative modifiers will pop up in your demesne, hampering levy reinforcement, levy size, tax, in short reducing by much the province's contribution to war. Unpaid mercenaries will either join your enemies, even if their troops are merged with yours (a battle will then occur), or withdraw. For 2 days, their leader will have a strong claim on your primary title, allowing him to declare an invasion on your realm. During a war, one must thus be careful with his expenses; as bankruptcy can significantly worsen an already bad military situation.
With great empires come great responsibilities - Uncle Ben, in Spiderman
Reaching to world domination, you should quickly enough find yourself at the head of an enormous empire after centuries of continuous warring, if you knew how to fight well in all wars. Even though the threat of a game over is far behind you now, the management of a great empire present threats that, if left unchecked, may well lead to your fall or at least cause severe drawbacks in your bid for world domination, or whatever other goal you pursue.
Coping with Defensive Pacts
- 主条目：Defensive pact
Defensive pacts are atrociously annoying in late game. Almost any conquest you'll make will make explode your level of threat, and short of waiting 40 years between each war you'll be forced to cope with them, if you didn't deactivate them in the game rules.
Luckily enough, you have several means at your disposal to make the realm you want to target leave a defensive pact before your attack, so you can avoid to inadvertently trigger World War I 800 years in advance.
First, you'll have to be prepared financially. Check your income with all of your personal levies raised, and then depending on the amount choose mercenary bands that you'll be able to field permanently without getting deficial. Plan for a good reserve of cash, as it will allow you to pay for the lost holdings (when a holding on your territory is occupied, the attacker will pillage some gold from your treasury), and for additional mercenaries if needed.
If you choose to occupy all the territory, move the mercenaries, holy orders and retinues to the border, to start assaulting as soon as possible. Then, focus on the enemy's territory, and deploy your armies to protect on one side the territories you'll have already occupied, and on the other to steamroll as fast as possible the remaining ones. The faster you'll act, the easier it will be, and you may be able to win without fighting major battles.
Distribution of power
With extremely large empires, the distribution of power among your vassals becomes determinant. Your empire will soon become so large that the simple divide to reign motto will become irrelevant. As such, you'll have to find new ways to organise your realm to take the best from your vassals.
Set up viceroyalties
With a growing empire, passing Imperial Administration will soon become essential to raise your vassals cap enough to supplement further conquests. Apart from the +25 bonus of vassal limit, it will also pass the "Duchy-tier viceroyalties" law. Your goal from now in intern politics should be to cancel the titles of your direct vassals and to make them viceroyalties, in order to be able to control more easily the distribution of power in your empire.
As your expansion continues, waging one war at a time won't be enough. Setting up powerful vassals at the borders, that will like you well (after you grant them viceroyal titles) will prove very useful with inner wars prohibited. They will expand on their own and push forward in your enemies' territory, saving you time and attention. Also, having powerful vassals at the border means that, if ever they rebel, they will not directly threaten your power core and will be exposed to foreign attacks and war declarations.
When creating large vassals such as multi-kings, try to ensure that each vassal can provide enough ships to carry the troops they provide. Troops that can be immediately loaded into ships can contribute to the war much sooner than troops that must start an overland trek with 0% morale. (Raise vassal troops and ships from the province view so you can control where they appear; raising levies using the military view means relying on your vassal's choice of capital.)