A helpful guide on all the tips and tricks I've found while playing through on my own.
In the beginning of a new campaign there's a lot that you can do to get a good head start.
For starters - Income: Chickens, Pigs, and Supply Wagons are all sources of income.
Chickens are the lowest, but provide a small source of constant food without Serfs harvesting them. I recommend having 3-6 in your towns just incase you actually have to defend a town.
Pigs give more food when slaughtered, and a higher income. You'll want to stock your towns and cities full of pigs. I usually do 15-20.
Supply Wagons dont give anything, but speed up the process a bit while your serfs are working. However, the only thing they are really speeding up is your Lumber Jacks. Food harvesters can return food to a barn. and corpse looters dont return at all.
The rest of your towns can be serfs. Usually 4-6. This will be your source of wood income during a battle or seige. Then with any remaining free space, you MIGHT want an archer or two. But for every month that goes by without your town being attacked, thats another month of wasted wages.
Next Step - How to get all that stufff without going broke!
Heres the trick: When you zoom into a town, time stops in the campaign map. Also, when you're building stuff in the city management, nothing costs silver.
So, zoom into your most tucked away / well guarded town first and start there.
You will be on a timer while doing this stage! Towns dont like being micro managed, and their happiness will decrease over time. (However, dont worry too much about this. You can go deep into the negatives without major penalties. Going too far into the neg will actually kick you out of city management.)
Start with serfs. Get a couple up and start lumberjacking. Then get a barn up and start making a few chickens. Then get your Stone mine and Iron mine up. If you have enough space, feel free to get a storage building. You can build a few supply carts from here to speed up your lumberjacks around this time. Then its usually a good idea to get at least 1 military building (archery range or barracks).
If your town is upgraded enough (this can only be done on the world map) then you can get some walls up. Also the more upgraded your town / city is then the more building spaces you'll have availible. This costs a lot of silver in the beggining of the game, and you have to upgrade your towns to level 3 before they can get walls. So this is optional.
Now. Once all your towns are upgraded and making you a decent amount of money, you're ready to feild a large army and start taking things over!
Also, if you did all this right in the beggining, there should be almost no enemy armies marching about yet. Giving you plenty of time to decide who you should attack first.
Starting Platform Finished? Moving On!
Most of the starting choice characters get between 1-3 areas in the beginning. So first things first, we need to start taking over more stuff.
Theres a few things I'd reccomend from my personal experience.
- You dont need troops in your army if you can march on enemy towns and cities fast enough.
- Always bring a second army.
You can actually build up the majority of your primary army during your first seige or village attack. Anything that you build during a battle will stay on the campaign map. I recommend starting with:
- A few ( 2 - 6 ) militia or melee troops.
- A few ( 2 - 8 ) archers.
- A few ( 4 - 6 ) serfs.
- A few ( 2 - 3 ) chickens.
Then during your first seige, quickly get stone and iron mines. Build a military building of your choice. Then start to flesh out the remaing space in your army.
Save up enough silver to get a second army to follow your primary army around. This secondary army can start with a chicken and a serf. Maybe more if you want or have the extra time / resources / silver.
Your secondary army will be taken over by the AI. Depending on how many serfs and chickens you start them off with, they may or may not have an army during your first village attack. However, city seiges last a little longer and they should definately have time to build up a nice force by then.
Take your little duo and begin conquering the map! (On my first couple playthroughs, I was able to take out 3-10 towns before the first season change or two.)
During battle, you're going to lose some soldiers. Or maybe not lose them but they get injured. Also happens during auto-calcs. If you lose a soldier that you can replace during a battle, just do that.
If you have soldiers that are injured they will start to regain hitpoints slowly by themselves at level 5. You can raise their level by sending them into battle or recruiting from an upgraded military building and then gain exp.
If you have REALLY injured guys, they will continually run away from fights. (Not 100% sure on this but I believe the blue bar above their HP is a morale bar).
When soldiers run, its a pain in the ♥♥♥ You can't select them solo. You have to select them by group from the buttons at the top right. If you send them back into battle, sometimes you can get them to fight to the death, but usually they run again.
Personally, if I'm goinng to be in a long battle, and if I dont have a hospital yet, I just delete them mid fight. (Shortcut K then C will delete All selected units)
A Few Towns Later...
Congrats! You've conqured some stuff and such.
I recommend taking a moment and consolidate your gains.
After you take over a town they have really bad morale. But as you press forward and time ticks away (and you dont act like a D*** and raise taxes) then they start to feel better. Now you can go into those new towns and build them up into money making machines like your first couple.
At some point, and depending on starting location, you may want to have a few more defenses in key areas. OR you may want to raise another 2 armies to patrol and conquer in another direction.
Now I haven't really tinkered with the diplomacy stuff. I just conquer everyone... so good luck with that if that's your thing.
Also during this time, spend your massive income of silver on buying some 'research items'. Talk to the guy on the bottom right while in world view and he'll bring up all the technologies you can start working towards. I dont have any advice yet on which ones are the best. I reccomend reading them and seeing which ones will best suit your play style from here on out.