Battles of the Conquerors 4: "Manzikert, 1071"

Article written by CanOfSpam
Published on 07-04-2016; updated on 07-05-2016
Tags: Conquerors Campaigns, Battles of the Conquerors

Battles of the Conquerors Campaign:
» Tours · Vinlandsaga · Hastings · Manzikert · Agincourt · Lepanto · Kyoto · Noryang Point

PLAN OF ATTACK

  • True Parthian Tactics
  • Cavalry Archer Stopping Power and Employing Terrain
  • Green, Red, Yellow, Blue
  • Imperial Age Assault

Relevant Civilization Bonuses

  • Turks: Hussar upgrade free
  • Byzantine Team Bonus: Monks heal 50% faster

Enemy Opposition

You’ll quickly get a taste of Byzantine cataphracts, who utterly outclass your light cavalry and camels in the melee... But curiously lacking in pierce armour. It should quickly become apparent from this experience and the game’s prompts that the best tactic against them in the field are hit and run. If you leave their outpost just outside your starting position intact, they’ll lead companies down the gauntlet that is the central highway of the map. Otherwise they’ll attack the Themes as they surrender to you, and it’s best to harass them from the heights. Two castles cement their map control, one of the mouth of the pass sitting astride the crossroads between the three themes of Anatolia, and another impregnable to anything less than trebuchets.

Cappadocia has a series of towered gates near your starting position, but a less defensible entrance to the north. They have a handful of camels that will sally out to meet you, but otherwise rely on towers.

Pisidia is similarly entrenched, with cavalry archers and mangonels ready to bloody an attack on their gates. Similar to Cappadocia, their northern gate is significantly easier to breach, but to the west there’s a gap in their defenses that can quickly be exploited.

Galatia looks simply unassailable, and unfortunately won’t fall to a clever ruse de guerre. Longswordsmen ward the locked gate that is the only entrance, a pair of castles overlooking the entrance and scorpions and monks all prepared to enfilade any attack force sent against it.

Cleverness trumps conventional tactics in this scenario. The same terrain that looks so forbidding in enemy hands becomes your greatest asset when the themes submit to you. A compact, well-led force is the key to this scenario, and the challenges here are effectively a love letter to micromanaged cavalry archers and the peerless mobility of light cavalry in scouting roles.

Butterflies and Bees

Your band of light cavalry will best serve you floating about, patrolling on No Attack stance. Dispatch one to each corner of the map, one each to the revealed town center points, and one to each halfway between the cardinal points of the map. Armour upgrades are unnecessary, as their speed will keep them from harm. Absolutely refrain from using them to engage any enemy troops.

Your greatest weapon in this scenario against the Byzantine soldiers is the sting of cavalry archers. Muster a force of eleven for true stopping power against the Byzantine cataphracts, fully upgraded. Two volleys will drop them, easily achieved with their greater mobility and the layout of the map. Your resources are sufficient for the extra cavalry archers as well as researching Bodkin Arrow, Leather Archer Armour, Husbandry and Thumb Ring. Once Cappadocia has fallen into your hands, enhance them with Ballistics at the University there.

Chokepoints and Bottlenecks

Trading carts have a direct and secure route to Pisidia after they’ve allied with you, offering you a gold supply. The mountain pass is ideal for luring Byzantine troops with your cavalry archers, but for the heavier gate assaults your campaign will be slowed by a wood bottleneck choking your resources. Trade at the market for the lumber to build a trio of battering rams in Pisidia when you make your move on Galatia.

Without villagers, you’ll never amass the resources necessary for a costly slog up the mountains, breaching gate after gate, ruining the defenses that will secure your holdings when they submit to you. Your light cavalry can slip through their kill zones and choke points to capture their town centres, and your cavalry archers will slaughter the Byzantine troops marching against you.

Green

Simpler than it seems, a single scout set to the revealed portion of the map will have him brave the castles, towers and enemy cavalry archers to ride right into their town centre. They’ll instantly submit to you, revealing the western quarter of the map and offering you tribute. Move your cavalry archers, camels and long swordsmen into the heart of the town, ready to respond to Byzantine counterattacks.

Red

Send a half dozen light cavalrymen east to Cappadocia’s northern entrance. When their camels sally out of the gates, dart past them to the second gate, and repeat this tactic to enter the city. Ride hell-bent to the town centre before they corner you, and the theme will surrender.

Yellow

Lure the long swordsmen away from the gate into an ambush with your cavalry archers. Once they’ve been fallen into the trap, set staggered patrols of passive light cavalrymen to distract the castles while you bring up three rams to break the gate. After it falls, muster all of your light cavalrymen and lead a charge past the defenders to claim their town centre. You’ll advance to the Imperial Age, and their castles and monastery are now yours. Their monks and yours can bring the survivors back up to strength for the final assault on the Byzantine Army.

Teal

A single ram or your starting longswordsmen are sufficient to reduce three of the towers in the Saracen gold mines. A mangonel is necessary for the final tower, but otherwise this is a distraction that absolutely takes a backseat to the capture of Galatia.

Blue

Build trebuchets and a monk, amassing all your troops for the final assault. Upgrade your cavalry archers as the resources becomes available, but provided you have eleven of them they still retain the same stopping power to massacre cataphracts in feigned retreats. If they manage to overwhelm your troops, preserve your cavalry archers and flee back into Galatia and your twin castles, regrouping, retraining and resuming the assault. Reduce both castles with trebuchets before using petards to breach the gates, levelling the town and slaughtering villages as you advance. Expect a counterattack of massed monks in their death throes, measuring the scale of your victory by the cost of Spies at your castle. Research it to locate the last of their military assets, being sure to destroy their market to vanquish them finally and secure your victory.


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Battles of the Conquerors Campaign:
» Tours · Vinlandsaga · Hastings · Manzikert · Agincourt · Lepanto · Kyoto · Noryang Point