I’ve been in quite a few campaign battles. I’ve seen a lot of successes and fails with these missions. Here is a quick run-through of what works and what doesn’t with these 8 battles.
Battle 1 – The Wall.
This first battle is a real head game. You never know if your opponent intends to breach the wall or just make you think they will and bomb you with mortar as you gather defences around the weakened wall piece.
I’ve had a lot of success with surprise artillery killing by breaching the wall in the middle and charging in with cavalry. A lot of commanders fail to protect from this surprise attack. Once you get that precious mortar then it’s pretty much home free if you play defensively and position your cannons to take out the keep. But I have seen some tough commanders come back from this.
Against more seasoned commanders who are wisely weary of weak walls and tend to not fall for the ‘rush forward to defend the area and get mortared’ ploy – I find it becomes more a battle of smoke. If they setup a cannon to blast your keep you can defend by smoking the area with your two muskets. Step forward, shoot, step back. Don’t worry about low damage – its two overlapping smoke puffs which we want here. While this is going on you bring your mortar closer. This gives you the option to move back and let them come in to attack your keep. Your keep is tough and isn’t affected by mortar shot so you can gore pile the invaders and smoke protect your keep at the same time, followed by some melee locks to keep your keep safe. That or you can mortar outside the gate if the enemy is hesitant to come in. This also protects your keep and hurts the enemy.
Another tactic vs the experienced is make a breech, and then drop a mortar shot just past that breech to blind the area. If the mortar hits nothing (no death screams) then sneak in some cavalry, paying attention to wind direction. If all goes well one of your hidden cavalry will be in a perfect position to charge the mortar or a cannon in the following round. This is a risky move but a whole lot of fun to pull off. If the units that lock your cavalry are pikes then you might avoid damage via the ‘attempted lock’ and break away quickly after that, either back through your opened wall space or deeper into enemy territory to stress out the remaining artillery – forcing your opponent to chase them and thus leave the wall defenceless.
If you lower a wall to 3 points left, then your opponent can blast through and come charging in. Most common tactic is to weaken the wall at one point, prepare you cavalry close to the weakened wall and then charge in and surprise and kill some artillery.
I often like to weaken the wall in various points just to mess with the enemy commander. And then focus on what they are doing – so if they are going for a cannon setup then prepare for a mortar smoke offence/defence bombardment. If they seem more focused on defending their own keep then then I might lean towards a breach to come in behind them. With multiple weak points in the wall, its harder for your opponent to guess where you might breech.
Only melee attacks from muskets and pikemen will harm the keep. Cavalry and Musket fire is useless. It’s usually a waist of time to attack the Keep early on with infantry as the defences will lock you up and kill you before you have done much damage. I have only seen a keep taken by melee once and it was at the end of a brutal battle. Some commanders actually don’t guard the gate and let you come in so they can easily decimate your forces.
This first battle works well for both new and experienced players. New players can stand back and be defensive and the wall really helps give them time to get ready. Seasoned players have a lot of fun with the vast array of possible ways to mess with the enemy or simply ignore the Keep and go for a win via kills or threaten the Commander. There is always a counter to whatever your opponent does so this is a great first battle.
A balanced battle between two great commanders never gets old on this map. Even if it often falls into the an intense cannon attack upon both keeps followed by lots of plotting to take out the precious artillery. It’s hard always know what your opponent is up to due to the wall blocking line of sight, so this battle is often full of dramatic surprises.
Just protect your Mortar at all costs. It’s just too valuable in this battle. One easy safeguard is to place a cavalry unit in front of your Mortar to prevent surprise charges from sudden wall breaches. Cavalry can not charge through cavalry.
Edit: It’s probably wiser to not enter your first breach. That almost never goes well for the invader, unless artillery can be killed instantly. If you want your invading units to have a real chance then perhaps wait until you have a second or third breach. The danger here though is that they come through to your side – instead. So be ready for that as well. Good luck!