兵家诡道

本页面所适用的版本可能已经过时,最后更新于2.8

该教程旨在便利统治者的征服与扩张,同时提供主要开局时间的大部分地区的详尽情形的纵览,并教导初学者在战场上立于不败之地。

尽管与真正的兵法相去甚远,但其中的数个概念仍会在这篇CK2教程中得到应用,以使每一位玩家在大部分给定情况下对抗任何或AI或玩家的对手时具有决定性的战略优势。然而,此处详述的概念不可能是何时何地都能管用的万金油,而在某个特定情形下是否使用下文所录的战略,将由你本身的专业知识做出决断。

战争的筋骨:金钱与军队

只有把握住中世纪治国术的两大要点——经济征召兵——才可能赢得战争。由强劲经济支撑的强大军队乃走向胜利之关键。

若以明智而均衡的方式发展这两者,你可以在避免军队损耗和经济崩溃的同时在几乎整盘游戏中不断进行战争。因此,必须在经济和军队规模的发展之间求得谨慎的平衡。

统治者的军事能力对征召兵的影响远比建筑更大,至少在游戏前期是如此。若财政允许支撑更多的征召兵,可以通过教育继承人或选择一个 DLC icon Way of Life.png军事向的生活重心,以此扩大你的免费军队征召兵规模。而在你有闲钱且达到直辖领上限的和平时期,投资建筑则物有所值。

如果在调集起征召兵时无法保证财政盈余,你尚有两个选择。要么大量囤钱并速战速决,以战养战,指望你新附庸的封臣为你未来的战争买单;要么稍安勿躁,在你的直辖领地上修建能赚钱的建筑来改善经济状况。如果你毗邻Horse Lords.pngJade Dragon.png丝绸之路,并且中国没有爆发影响丝路的内乱,那么仅仅建造贸易站就足以使你的财政窘局烟消云散(Jade Dragon.png)。

你的封臣也会扮演一定的角色,譬如在高王权法下,他们既会提供给你更多的免费征召兵,又会交足够的税来养活你的直辖领军队。然而,严重依赖封臣的军队是很危险的,封臣提供军队的数量随着他们对你的好感上下浮动,并且如果你的直辖领军队在战场上一败涂地,这会直接带来严重的政治冲击。即存的派系会骤然壮大起来,或许会强大到足以与你宣战的程度。因此,比起控制强大的封臣,投资建设自己的直辖领及其部队通常更加值得。

敌与友

在一段长久的和平之后,抑或在解除暂停之前,你需要选择你的头号敌人archenemy——那个你将要在外交、经济上全面打压的,并随时择机入侵的那个敌人。收拾掉一个后,就按照相同的标准再找一个。

完美的死敌满足以下全部标准,至少要满足一大部分。

  • 比你弱很多,并且离你不远
  • 是异教徒
  • 处于外交孤立(文化上孤立,或者仅仅是缺乏盟友
  • 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Light infantry.png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
  • 有强大而不忠的封臣
  • 在你的法理 王国帝国之中

这个敌人将成为你攻城略地、拓土开疆的首要目标。

择敌之后,就集中精力伪造他的宣称,邀请他的宣称者(此处参见扩张你的领地)。宣战理由一到,战争就开始了。(译注:并不一定非要从宣称里面找战争理由,这一般视你的宗教而定)

要是尚无实力对抗一个庞然大物,就考虑在你的宗教组之内寻求一个强力的盟友,例如神罗皇帝和哈里发。在他们大军的支持下,你很难输掉战争。注意,忙于他们自己的战争的盟友并帮不上多大的忙。

如果有DLC碧玉之龙朝贡体系也能帮你轻松获得打手。把周边的小国都打成朝贡国,你扩展影响力的速度会比一个个征服这些小国快得多。这样就又扩大了你在对敌时的赢面。

时刻注意过于依赖盟友去赢得战争也会妨碍你的胜利。他们的指挥官可能在战斗中顶掉你的更优秀的将领。而在围城时领军的总是将领里面地位最高的一个,如果你的Siege leader.png围城指挥官只是个廷臣,他也会轻易地被你盟友的某个有地的指挥官顶掉,无论这人多么不称职。

择时而战

”是故胜兵先胜而后求战,败兵先战而后求胜。“ —— 孙子兵法The Art of War

向敌国宣战并不是一个那么容易做出的决定。你必须考虑一系列的因素,敌人越强就要考虑的越细。仅当你准备充分,有把握以最短的时间和损失赢得战争时,才应当宣战。

译者:想那么多干什么莽上去就完事了

沙场点将

指挥官是战场上最具决定性的因素。因此,你所有的指挥官岗位都应该由你所能找到的最优秀的人才出任。可以通过邀请、入赘婚姻以及购买DLC icon Conclave.png人情来把人才招揽到你的宫廷(译注:人情favor并不能用于强制邀请入宫廷,原文想要说的应该是赠送礼物)。

重视你的指挥官,至少要拥有:

  • 一位Siege leader.png围城指挥官
  • 两位Flanker.png侧翼领袖
  • 一位Experimenter.png中军领袖
  • 一位Organizer.png组织者

一部分特质也可以提供增益,如:

  • Patient.png耐心、Strategist.png策略家可以提供20%防御
  • Brave.png勇敢可以提供20%士气防御
  • Architect.png建筑师可以增加20%围攻速度
  • Administrator.png管理者可以增加10%行军速度
  • Game master.png游戏大师提供30%狭窄阵线,可助你在防御战中以少胜多
  • Cruel.png残暴、Impaler.png拷打爱好者可以提供10%士气打击
  • Hunter.png猎人提供20%追击,助你在战斗的追击阶段追亡逐北

通过折磨囚犯,选择战争、管理或者狩猎生活重心,及一些随机事件可以获得以上所列特质中的一个或几个。

军事属性则是次要的。一位军事属性一般但拥有卓越特质的将军要好于军事属性超群但没有什么有用特质的指挥官。

麾下良将如云,则战场上无人可挡。

经济上的准备

如果在调集起征召兵时无法实现财政盈余, 或者你想要招募昂贵的雇佣兵, 那么保证你国库里有充足的资金来供给一场漫长的战争。

在战争中破产会出现许多危险,列如下:

  • 你的雇佣兵可能会投敌,甚至直接入侵你的国家。
  • 你的军队会得到一个-25%士气的修正,显著减少你在每一场战役中的赢面。
  • 减少税收、征召兵增援等等的负面修正会在你的直辖领省份蔓延。
  • 其他国家可能会趁虚而入,接连向你宣战,最终直接撕碎你筚路蓝缕建立的王国

为了避免打着打着破产,你可以早早囤钱,选择野心“建立战争金库“然后敲诈你的臣属,向骑士团阿萨辛犹太商人借钱,或者干脆更狠毒一点,把无嗣的富人邀请到自己的宫廷来然后杀死,好继承他们的财产。

选择合适的战争目标

在一系列的宣战理由里,只有能带给你最长远利益且目标省份可及的那一个是值得选择的。

譬如,与其用圣战来夺取一个虽大然而遥远的公国(比如突尼斯)还不如夺取一个虽小但可以长期守住的,除非你能承受得起每三十年一次的吉哈德

直辖上限未满时,优先选择能夺取新直辖地的战争;当上限已满时,则考虑以下三个方面:

  • 如果你想要一个文化大一统的国家,那就帮助索取你封臣或同文化廷臣宣称,抑或选择圣战或索取法理宣称。(译者在此处存在疑惑)
  • 如果你只是渴望快速扩张,就选择能够夺取最多土地和最高级头衔的那一个。
  • 最后,尽可能地去控制你的法理王国帝国,在你法理之内的封臣会上交更多的税和兵,叛乱风险也会更低。

注意潜在的麻烦

注意你的敌国可能被暂时削弱,这时征服它们并不像看起来那么容易。第一,别光盯着对面的现有军队规模,也注意下它的军队上限。军队的补员速率是很惊人的,你打着打着就要与远多于一开始的军队作战。另外有的国家拥有作为附庸的雇佣兵(如1066年之后的埃及)或骑士团(比如卡斯蒂利亚),在评估敌国力量时忽略了这种精锐庞大的军团会大大减少你的赢面。

第二,如果你进攻的是(别国的)叛军,要保证在他们反抗其领主的战争中双方都拿不到25%以上的战争分数,要不然叛军会接受其领主的和平条件,而你的入侵战争也会被强制终止。方法是尽快占地,因为领主与派系叛军之间的战争只会在叛军不占有任何被除其领主之外的势力占领的地产时才会结束。(译者在此处存在疑惑)

最后,检查一下对手的盟友们,以及可能会参与圣战的同宗兄弟。你难以预见谁会站在他们那一边参战,陷入危难之中的AI总是能弄来一些莫名其妙的盟友。

军队的部署

端一起,则征召军队并部署之。

选择正确的集结地

为了迅速回应一切敌袭,以及避免本土作战,在正确的省份集结相当重要。选择时应当考虑以下几项:

  • 所有者:一般在自己或盟友的领土集结,这样在大逼近时可以迅速解散避免损失,这也提供了临近省份的视野。
  • 相对风险:考虑集结点与敌首都的距离,对方通常会在首都集结军队。最好选在远离对方首都且临近需要争夺的省份的地点。
  • 战术上的重要性:如果你的领土与你敌人的犬牙交错,那么试着在集结时拦截敌方的小股部队。这些早期的胜利或许会决定战争的走向。

把战争带给敌人

兵贵神速。在2.8版本中,围城速度大大增加了,这意味着你可以趁着敌军还在集结的时候占领一些土地,拿一些战争分。这么做的话一位Siege leader.png围城指挥官能帮不少忙。

这种情况下Dlc icon legacy of rome.png近卫军雇佣兵非常有用。在宣战之前就把这些部队部署到边境的关键点,可以保证你在冲突的一开始就占据上风。这可以分割敌军,保护己方主力并通过小规模战斗乃至围攻拿一些战争分

特别是在防御战争中,采取攻势可以使你支配更多时间,夺取战争主动权。当你在敌国境内大肆破坏时,你的敌人会忙着解围你攻下的省份,从而忽略他意欲夺取的你的领土。

通过合理运用Organizer.png组织者和Siege leader.png围城指挥官特质,你甚至可以战胜数量远大于你的敌人。

通过在敌国土地上巧妙作战,你能得到宝贵的时间来召唤盟友。依赖定期战争分数你甚至可以一场仗也不打就把远远强于你的敌人拖成无条件和平

力求战则必胜

好的将军不仅能使战争胜利,他同样能知道何时无法胜利。——波利比乌斯Polybius,希腊作家、将军、政治家

为了赢得胜利,主力决战恐怕是绕不开的一着。就算靠小规模接战和军队损耗也能进行战争,但是除了大打上一两场之外,基本没有别的办法把战争分数扳到100%。但是,也不是每一场仗都该打,一场大败仗可以抹去你之前的一切胜利。

平衡你的力量

首先在一支军队的中军与两翼的安排上,不要把左中右三军安排的过于不平衡,要是军队的一翼被击溃,整支军队就会陷入危机之中。鉴于在接战之前没办法弄清楚对面军队每一翼的成分(只能看到对面军队的各兵种数量,以及对面中军领袖的名字),平衡每一翼的力量可以避免意外的麻烦。

如果不可避免地要分散力量,就努力从其中汲取优势,把最好的指挥官放到那一翼,把这一翼在战场上的对敌冲击最大化。这可以使你连续击溃数路敌军,弥补军队力量分布不平衡的缺陷。

搜集情报

可多亏了战争迷雾,一个人看不到位于自己或盟友领土及军队一个省份以外的敌军。猜测敌军的行动并不容易,不过也有一些办法可以帮忙应付这个。

在任的指挥官的画像上会有个“正率领军队”的图标,鼠标悬停于其上就能知道他在哪个省份。看看你敌人和他的指挥官的头像就能知道他们军队的位置和行军方向。

把你的间谍总管放到关键地区,比如敌国的首都,可以助你监视那里敌方军队的存在。这可以避免意外的遭遇战,在你计划横渡海峡的时候格外有用。

最后,把船只部署在某一片海域可以赋予你该海域所有沿海省份的视野。尽管在与内陆国家作战时这并没有什么用处,但这个战术在当你要夺取的土地在海外时相当有用,比如你在一场十字军中意欲夺取耶路撒冷王国

不打必败之仗

最理想的情况自然是一场仗也不打输。输掉战役不仅损失战争分数,输掉的军队向后方撤退的过程也在你浪费宝贵的时间,改写你与敌人的力量平衡。要竭尽全力避免战败,而这需要高度了解地形以及参与冲突的两支军队。

根据敌人的行动来选择去与之战斗或躲避之。只有你能保证你绝对能赢下这场战斗时才与之接战,险胜不如速胜。

鉴于AI不怎么会考虑地形,在数量与敌军相差不大或劣于敌军的情况下把敌军引诱到有利地形并不那么难。尽管没法保证你赢,这至少能在战场上强化我军并削弱敌军。

如果你在与过于强大的敌人周旋时选择避免作战的话,等待敌军在围攻你的领土的漫长时间中损耗军队,并在此时尽可能在本土补员。只要你觉得没把握强到击溃侵略军,就聚集军队静待敌军在你的领土上损耗。这会丢一些战争分数,不过至少不会输掉整场战争。

逆风翻盘

有时候,输掉一场战役也未必是坏事。如果敌军难以彻底击溃你的军队,并且比你付出了更大的伤亡,战役即使打输也可以算作成功的努力。敌人将更加脆弱,而实力的天平会向你倾斜。

为了最大化你对敌军造成的伤亡,应当考虑以下几点。首先是地形,即使陷入绝境,任何加成也都是有益的。军队质量也能造成很大的影响,尤其是在游戏后期,因为一支精英部队(由雇佣兵近卫军骑士团之一组成)将更难击溃且能造成更大的杀伤。

肉搏战阶段是一切战役的转折点。进入并主导肉搏战阶段能为胜利的天平投下巨大的砝码。然而东方军队和部落军队极其长于散兵战(又译遭遇战),一旦进入肉搏战阶段,只有那些Heavy infantry.png重步兵和Heavy cavalry.png重骑兵以及指挥官技能会发挥作用。Game master.png游戏大师、Strategist.png战略家及其他狭窄阵线加成和士气加成的战斗修正在此时至关重要。

一场灾难性的散兵战可以以一场光荣的肉搏战来弥补,这未必会使你赢得战斗,但至少可以肆无忌惮地屠杀大量的敌军。

两栖作战

鉴于十字军之王2连海战都没有,所以在海战中积极运用船只的办法只有把军队从一片海岸迅速运到另一片。因此,船只可以提供战略纵深,精于此道者难以被击败。

译者:在中世纪谈论两栖作战是否搞错了什么(误)

迅速集结部队

与陆地行军相反,以船只运输部队在游戏里快的惊人。当你要花数周乃至数月才能走陆路集结完部队时,以船只集结海岸部队一两周就可以搞定。

这可以给予你可观的对敌战术优势,因为若你的土地可通过海洋来去自如,(例如拜占庭帝国),你就可以轻易快过敌人,在对手尚忙于重聚军队时开始你的行动。

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.

Initiation

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.

Combat

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. Organizer.png 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.

Besieging

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.

This part is the most lengthy of a war, but also the safest. If you planned your actions well, your enemy should not be a threat and the occupation go smoothly, especially with a Siege leader.png commander.

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.

Retreat

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.

Observation

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.

Conclusion

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 Organizer.png 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 Light infantry.png, Light cavalry.png, Archers.png, Horse archers.png) 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 Heavy infantry.png, Pikemen.png, Heavy cavalry.png, War elephants.png) 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 Pikemen.png and Heavy cavalry.png, 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 Heavy infantry.png. 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 Orthodox.png 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.

Imperium Mundi

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.)