NTW3 Guide - How to not telegraph that you are complete noob in Multi-Player

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NTW3 Guide - How to not telegraph that you are complete noob in Multi-Player

Postby Hekko » Thu Jun 25, 2015 1:19 pm

1. Foreword

I looked into what guides there are for NTW3 and while there is a lot of wisdom on the forum I feel that there is no one-stop-shop for a new player to get all of the most basic stuff on the game in written format. Therefore it is my intention to share some of the stuff that I have grasped during my time at the mod.

This guide is intended for all people who are new to the mod, whether or not they have played a lot of total war previously. Some of the stuff may prove useful to intermediate players as well since they may get a new perspective on things when I explain my way of thinking.

As a final note I would like to say that new people should not be afraid to become a part of the community and participating and contributing to making this mod great, ranging from joining clans to joining TS to have a laugh during the games all the way to asking questions and giving feedback in the forum.

2. Basic etiquette or how to get invited to play again

NTW3 as a mod is mainly designed around having as few rules as possible, and thus it means that those that are in place are rather important to people. Some of the stuff I mention here may not be gospel in the sense that you will see people doing it, but it will generally be frowned upon and may result in you having a harder time finding games. What's more, players are mostly expected to know these things, even if they are unmentioned beforehand.

2.1 Do not include the same faction on both teams
What this means is that both teams cannot use for instance Prussia. One of the teams will be asked to change to a different faction. Generally speaking this works on a first come first serve basis, where the side which first picked Prussia gets to keep it.

2.2 Do not include France on the same team
The rule itself pretty much spills the beans on this one, worthwhile mentioning is that derivative units of France/UK are included into this so no, picking the guard faction is not a sneaky way of circumventing this rule.

2.3 No general sniping
This rule is one that is a bit murky in the sense that everyone has their slightly own interpretation of what this entails. The part which everyone is agreed to is that killing the general by hitting him with artillery is out of bounds.

It is quite general that people will avoid killing the general by other means as well, but I have also heard comments to the effect of "If the general is somewhere where he gets caught in melee or shot by infantry, he was in the wrong place and you deserved it". On the other hand I have seen major rifts materialise from people killing generals with cavalry. I would personally recommend against going general hunting with cavalry, since you may end up playing with yourself if you piss-off too many people.

Some practical points: The general is not intended to be a way to protect certain parts of your army from artillery/melee etc. What this means in practice is that if you stick the general into an obvious place of danger people will have little sympathy for your if you cry foul - you should also pay attention to where your general is and make sure to move it out of harms way unprompted. It also means that if you are firing artillery at an area where the general accidentally could be hit you should just warn the opponent of the fact via the chat rather than shift the artillery fire. The same can be done about the general being in the path of your cavalry.

2.4 General scouting
Some people, especially in the past, liked to use the general for scouting purposes since it was the fastest unit in-game. Some people frowned upon it, some thought it was a part of the game. These days generals have reduced LoS so it's less effective, but I have seen it happen from time to time.

The same can be said about using the general as a combat unit. The general is quite ineffective in combat, but it's fast and can be used to get rid of limbers from artillery, or applying a attacked to the rear morale modifier to units both of which can be quite powerful tools, and unintended from the perspective of the devs. These things are generally frowned upon as well, and it will certainly be seen as a carte blanche to kill the general by most opponents so I would recommend against this behaviour in friendly games.

3 In-game mechanical changes or how to make sense of the change-log

3.1 Movement

There are few aspects to take into account when it comes to movement.

a) Units move a lot slower compared to vanilla, this means that you will have to budget time differently which means that reaction times to stuff happening will be different as well. It's something people will grasp quite automatically but I am stating it for the sake of completeness. The rule of thumb here is that everything is slower, but some stuff is a lot slower, while other stuff is less affected. Heavy cavalry moves like a snail, while skirmishers are not nearly as affected by the slow-down. Line infantry-type units are quite a lot slower as well, while light infantry are a bit faster than the lines. Horse artillery is swift as is light cavalry. Artillery moves slower depending on the size, so 6 pounders will be as fast or faster than line infantry, while 12 pounders will be slow and grand batteries will be painfully slow. For completely new players the speed of units goes roughly the following way, I also account for fatigue etc. to arrive at the general mobility of units rather than the raw speed of them:

Light cavalry > Horse Artillery > Heavy cavalry ≈ Skirmishers > light infantry > light artillery ≈ line infantry > heavy artillery > grand battery.

b) Roads are a lot quicker. A detour marching on a road will take you to your destination a lot quicker than taking the closest route across a field.

c) Columns are quicker (and incidentally easier to fit on roads). Self-evident statement, making deep formations will get you there quicker than making long lines.

d) Fatigue is a big deal. A unit of heavy cavalry that is exhausted moves at a pace which makes artillery seem quick. Furthermore, some units will get fatigued almost immediately when running.

e) Units that are walking are hidden, while running units are visible. I.e. there is a fog of war which means that walking units far from the enemy are invisible to them. This in conjunction with fatigue means that you do not want to run unless in pressed situations, such as while under fire, or when charging someone. An important thing to note here as well, is that grouping will make units move in ways where they break their hidden effect, so avoid grouping.

f) Terrain comes in different flavours. Some maps have horrid terrain which will essentially make your units move at the pace of an asthmatic ant, while other maps have more forgiving terrain in a speed sense. Generally speaking the historical maps are the worst offenders, beware, do not try to walk heavy artillery through a forrest or swamp on those maps since it will essentially be stuck.

3.2 Combat
There have obviously been rather major changes to combat as well, both on the melee and ranged front, not to mention the power of cavalry.

3.2.1 Shooting
a) Shooting is a lot more range sensitive. This means that a unit at a longer distance will be quite ineffectual while shooting units at a close range will do heavy damage to the unit.

b) Terrain matters more. A forest will reduce a large amount of damage a unit takes from shooting, meaning that having a shoot-out against an enemy who is in a forrest while you are not is a bit of a waste. Furthermore a shoot-out in a forest is a bit of a tar-pit, in the sense that it will last for ages.

c) Accuracy is king. When comparing units shooting stats the first and foremost stat to look at is accuracy, reloading skill is just a nice bonus ontop of that.

d) Some units wear flak-jackets. Shooting up skirmishers is not an effective endeavour due to their smaller hitboxes, this goes even if they are formed up in ranks. Same goes for artillery crews and especially the generals staff.

e) Shooting in general is slower. What this means is that shoot outs will last longer than in vanilla.

3.2.2 Melee
a) Melee is quicker. Infantry have huge charge bonuses, meaning that if a unit pulls of a charge it will most likely win, even if it's a bad unit against a better one.

b) Charging is more difficult. Due to the very powerful close range shooting, and more sensitive morale system, together with guard mode (make sure to trigger it on units that do not have it on by default, such as grenadiers and light infantry) which allows you to fire into melee for a while, makes is almost impossible to get a solid head on charge to work successfully since the unit will just hold and shoot you to pieces at close range. The converse side here is also that the best defence is to stand still and fire, rather than running away. Countercharging may be worthwhile in-case you won't get your volley off because you have been caught manoeuvring.

c) Fatigue matters - a lot. If your units are fatigued you will not really see good melee performance from them.

d) Keeping you general near helps.

3.2.3 Cavalry
a) Stats > Numbers. A unit of high quality cavalry will beat a unit of low-quality cavalry, even if the low quality unit is larger. Thus, when choosing cavalry one should shy away from overly large units and look at the stats instead. Mind, a huge difference in unit-size does matter, the point here is that stats are underpriced compared to size.

b) Keep your general close. Cavalry engagements hinge a lot on morale, and having the general not close-by is usually a tell-tale sign that the player is new and does not recognise the importance of the general. The general also has the inspire ability, which very nicely gives some extra melee attack to a unit further pushing the melee in ones favour.

b) Fatigue matters. Cavalry tires very quickly and tired cavalry dies against worse cavalry. Thus you should not get hubris with your cavalry if it's tired.

c) Terrain matters to an extent. Charging downhill helps you a bit, albeit it is secondary to the first two aspects.

d) Charging matters for some units. Light cavalry vs light cavalry is quite dependent on the charge, so a if you catch an enemy unit unaware you can take it out even if your own unit is of lower quality.

e) Proper heavy cavalry will kill an infantry square. A unit of (french) cuirassiers can just walk onto a line-infantry square and beat it in melee. It's shooting and supporting units that keep infantry safe, as well as fatigue.

f) Cavalry cannot move through infantry. This means that you have to either form squares or walk in the opposite direction of the cavalry with the infantry in order to let the cavalry through.

g) Because of the above infantry can reform in combat (especially against a tired unit of cavalry) and due to guard mode start firing into the combat, effectively routing the cavalry. This also means that cavalry charges hitting an infantry line in the front or flank is liable to be routed due to the same reason, even without reforming.

3.2.4 Artillery
a) Due to the slower speed of movement and closer formations roundshot does have an impact on infantry.

b) Price is more important than stats with artillery, except in the eventuality of counter battery fire. This is since most units are large enough to be hit anyway, while canister does not require accuracy.

c) Cavalry has larger hitboxes, smaller unitsizes and can be damaged outside of the stated range of the artillery. Thus they are a prime target.

d) Cannons > howitzers in most situations

e) Canister is crazy effective. I do not care about people thinking it's balanced, the truth of the matter is that you, especially as a new player, should at least have a very healthy respect for canister if you ought not to be outright afraid of it. Larger guns have longer ranged canister, with more dangerous effect, but even 6 pounders will ruin your day.

f) Terrain matters. Make sure to have a look at the terrain, since cannons fire in a fairly flat arc, which means that even small changes in terrain main mean that you end up hitting nothing. Terrain is especially important during counter-battery action, since you want to be hard to hit while having an easy time hitting the enemy.

g) Angle matters in counter-battery battles. If you are hitting the flank of the enemy battery you will most likely win.

3.2.5 General and other general stuff
a) Your general does matter a lot more than in Vanilla, and keeping him close to where the action is thickest, while keeping him safe is usually something that sets appart the mediocre players from the good ones. It's a good habit to start keeping him close to the fighting from the start, so that it becomes automatic.

b) The generals abilities are rather powerful, and not using them is going to harm you. Inspire is best used either shoot-out where you are trying to push an enemy unit into breaking when it's stuck on wavering, or in a cavalry fight to help push the advantage your way. For missile units it ought to be used on large units with good reloading skill and preferably high accuracy to begin with, in order to quickly rout an enemy unit to gain a local advantage. For cavalry units it ought to be used on a large unit of high-quality cavalry, alternatively, it ought to be used on a unit that is going to be the losing one in a situation where all your other units will be winning against their designated units.

4 Unit Selection or how to not lose before it has started

The goal of the mod has been to make all units balanced and viable. Compared to vanilla it is like night and day, but the fact is that there are still some units that are far better than other units, which means that you are hurting yourself and your allies by taking the wrong units.

Ultimately the optimal unitselection depends on your play style and the overall plan you have for the battle, thus it is a bit awkward to comment on units from a general point of view when it comes to a general point of view. Nevertheless, there are some units that are mispriced and thus one can comment on a few gems, as well as the turds to try to avoid in army builds.

4.1 The good
Line infantry: Line is fairly generic in the sense that they are the baseline to which everything is compared. Nevertheless, there are a few nations that stick out with excellent line infantry that deserves to be mentioned. The UK has second battalions which are excellent value for the money compared to other nations line infantry, where second battalions have comparable or better shooting stats than veteran line of most nations, while being cheaper. Austria also deserves a mention due to the large unit size making Austrian lines excellent speed bumps.

Light Infantry: Most light infantry is excellent as a class, however, there are a few units that really shine in this category, mainly British and Wurttemberg, both of these nations have very excellent light infantry at a low cost with 28 and 26 accuracy respectively.

Grenadiers: As a class I would argue that grenadiers are a bit lack-luster, however, the gems in this class are Russian and Hungarian grenadiers since the armies inherently have low shooting-stats, and accordingly you get larger units of grenadiers with higher melee for more reasonable prices.

Named "special" line & light: generally speaking these are a peg or two better than their non-named counterparts, however, there are a few nice ones that stick out with good value/cost ratios, the high end french light infantry as well as the 56e are excellent units at a low cost point. Similarly the Nr. Deutchmeister unit for Austria is good in this niche.

Guards: Guards are like line-infantry quite generic in the sense that they are an upgraded version of line infantry, however, there are a few units that shine in this category, the french young guard voltigeur-tirallieurs are an excellent example of a good value-for-money unit. In general guard light infantry is the good category.

Light cavalry: The general rule of thumb is that good value-for-money units have slightly less men than their counterparts, while having better stats, British KGL 2nd hussars fall into this category, same goes for some Austrian high-end hussars. The other side of the spectrum simply is to have plenty of cheap throwaway cavalry in which case Russia delivers with different flavours of cossacks.

Medium Cavalry: This category is generally somewhat hard to justify to put into the category of good at all, but French dragoons, Austrian Hohenlohe dragoons and other high-end dragoons can work well enough as a counter to enemy throw-away cavalry, as well as trying to force squares on the enemy.

Heavy cavalry: The only unit that can somewhat fit into a "good" category for heavy cav is the gendarmes d'elite, solely on their smaller unit size, giving them a lower price, enabling them to fullfil a similar role to dragoons, without too much of a higher price.

Artillery: All artillery is quite good, but there are some gems that you can build an army around. Austrian 12lbers at 750 a pop are a steal, Prussian landwher 12lbers and a lot of minor nations have "crap" artillery, which means that you get crazy canister at absolutely huge discounts.

4.2 The bad

Line infantry: Same as with the good, lines lack gems and turds to some extent, however, some nations simply have so thoroughly crap lines in absolute terms that it doesn't matter that it's dirt cheap. Saxony would be a candidate for this. Also, when comparing to the alternatives KGL line comes out bad due to the fact that the other options are cheaper.

Light infantry: Light infantry as a class is all-around good and as such it's hard to point at any bad offenders.

Named Line & Light infantry: 32e, most of the british named line infantry due to it falling into a performance wasteland between being quite good enough to break a flank or inexpensive enough to hold the main line, or having a larger unit size by 10 which is a disadvantage.

Grenadiers: No extreme offenders that immediately spring to mind, nonetheless, grenadiers as a class are a bit dodgy compared to going for a shooty build.

Guards: Guards are like grenadiers but more expensive, the old guard are an offender in the sense that you pay a lot for very elite units that ultimately will leave half of that eliteness on the table by either meleeing or shooting the enemy into submission, meaning that the other aspect is redundant. As a rule of thumb grenadier-guards usually are the worst offenders.

Light Cavalry: The larger the unitises the worse light cavalry gets. Guard Chasseurs a cheval are badass in their own right, but one cannot help to wonder whether or not the money would not have been better spent in some other way. Shooty cavalry in general is also something to perhaps reconsider, on the basis that shooting costs and at best bags you one dude here and there, and at worst ends up with the reserves blue-on-bluing the units they are supposed to be supporting.

Medium cavalry: Units in this category that suffer from so bad stats that they become quite vulnerable to high-end light cavalry are the worst offenders, since they are expensive while not really providing anything the light-cavalry cannot do.

Heavy cavalry: All heavy cavalry is bad, because of reasons.

Artillery: The perverse truth about artillery is that accuracy is of fairly little consequence (position, weight & operational guns are more important in different situations, accuracy only mattering in artillery duels), while that drives costs hugely, which means that the "best" artillery is the worst.

4.3 The ugly

There are some units that are simply so bad that they deserve a special mention here.

Scots grays: It's a crap unit-class, that is oversized which results in an even more oversized price compared to what it can do.

Cuirassier brigades: Same as above.

Grand batteries: To risky, to inflexible. The entire army is built around this unit, and one tiny cock-up and it all comes crumbling down. To quote Sir Wolly from a game I had "Never take a grand battery and rely on your allies to protect it"

5 Basic tactics & strategy - how to execute them and how to defend against them

I will discuss some basic tactical manoeuvres as well as those parts of it that overlap with strategy, I will however, refrain from going into overall strategy too much, except those parts that are of importance to new players.

5.1 Knowing you enemy

Knowing your enemy is one of the most important parts of the game, because it will form have you react to different situations. You will get away with riskier behaviour against bad players, meaning that moves that pay-off a lot, but are hard to execute might completely destroy a bad player, while a good player will use it against you and destroy you.

I gauge players based on whether or not I have seen them before, as well as what clan they belong to. That is a fairly useless tip for someone who is playing their first games since they obviously have not seen anyone before. Thus I'd say a new player ought to look at the following things:

Are all of the enemies in the same clan? If yes a grand plan will probably be in place, and they will probably cover for each other a bit better than randoms would due to TS. Another thing to look at is whether or not they are in a clan. Here are a few to look out for (apologies if I have forgotten some clan).

British Prussian Alliance, Celtíberos, FRP, L'Ordre des Templiers, Les Grognards, LuSiTaNi LeGio, Manawar, Napoleonics, Royal-Dragons with the following tags:


Another good way to gauge if a clan is well established is to see if they have channels in the Lordz TS.

5.2 Scouting

Every player, even the new ones, are responsible for scouting ahead of the army with cavalry, failure to do this can be critical if the enemy has a more advanced plan that you only find out about later on in the game.

When scouting I recommend moving forward all of your cavalry, including heavy cavalry (if you have it) to act as a supports for the light cavalry, in case they come across superior light cavalry (or enemy heavies should those exist). Furthermore I would recommend bringing up horse artillery since it can be used to take some potshots if you have cavalry superiority and the enemy cannot take out your defending cavalry.

5.3 Basic strategy

When you drop into games as a new player chances are that you will not be called upon to craft the grand strategy for your team for the game. If all of the people on the team are fairly unknown to each other chances are that everyone will will just move forward and engage the enemy player infront of them in order to defeat them. This is perfectly fine, however, it still requires you to be alert, because the enemy might not have the same grand strategy. They might for instance leave an entire flank while triple-teaming the other flank with one guy playing defensively. Even if you are new you have to recognise that this is happening and react accordingly. This is why it is important to scout since it will screen your intentions and it will give you information about the enemy information that will help you react.

If you are on the empty flank you have two options, you can shift in and try to hit their speed-bump harder than they hit your lone guy, or you can move to support your own lone guy.

On the other hand, if you are about the get triple teamed you really just have one option - staying alive.

When playing on the same team as a close knit-group who have a grand plan will be rather straight forward, since there will be someone telling you what to do.

5.4 Strategic attacking

Attacking on a strategic level is quite straightforward, it mainly involves moving towards the enemy and engaging them in a way that either forces them back, or ends up destroying their units. Usually this means using cavalry and infantry to push up on a flank so that you would be able to attack the enemy unit in the side or rear arc. The enemy is obviously not entirely happy about having this happen to them so they will take countermeasures, but in theory it is this simple. There are a few tactics that will help in execution and I will bring them up in the tactical attacking section. However, on a strategic level attacking also generally means that you want to keep the engagement distance short, since short range fire will be more decisive either forcing the enemy back or destroying him quicker.

5.3 Strategic defending

On a strategic level defending mainly entails not getting flanked or caught in a bad melee (which should come quite automatically due to guard mode and short range defensive fire). Not getting flanked generally means falling back. The theory being that it's faster to move back as a defender than as an attacker, since an attacker will have to cover a longer distance.

As with attacking defending has an aspect of range-management, in the sense that you obviously want to have the shoot out at long distance, since this will buy you extra time. This interestingly means that NTW3 has a large aspect of range management, but not in the same sense as vanilla where it's all about forcing the enemy into walking into your firing arc to get an advantage.

The best way to stay defend is to fall back slowly while denying engagement with the enemies in order to get as much time as possible for your team. The enemy will move slower if they have to maintain a battle formation than a marching formation, so when defending you still ought to move up and meet them in order to give you more space to fall back through once the enemy has deployed into a battle formation. There is one other option to consider, I am mentioning it for the sake of completeness since it will require a lot of individual skill from the defender, and that is to simply hold in a very advantageous position, killing more enemies/holding than you have while dying giving your allies an advantage later on. This depends on the terrain and the players you are facing, if they are experienced they might be able to dislodge you from your position anyway, in which case it's risky. Prime places to try this would be river crossings that you are denying using canister.

Another aspect about defending is the fact that opponents attacking often will do so quite boldly, meaning that their units may be exposed at times. A good player ought to pick up on these opportunities to destroy some of the resources the attacker has at hand or delaying the attacker by forcing them to reorganize before carrying on the attack in order to plug the exposure. Nevertheless, the defender must not lose sight of the main goal, which is occupying a as large amount of enemy resources for as long as possible, so too much hubris with the counter attacks may set you back in the long run.

Finally, I am re-mentioning falling back while defending, since it is maybe one of the biggest mistakes I see new people making that isn't based on misunderstanding the new game-mechanics. The point here is, as a defender you mostly have the luxury of not having to accept fighting in a bad spot. This means that no one is obliging to chill inside the canister range of the attacking grand battery. In less extreme terms this means that you should not pursue a long shoot-out with your militia against the enemy's foot guards.

5.4 Tactical attacking

Tactical attacking is essentially about how to successfully execute the strategic attacking. For me there are three main ways of attacking, I will bring up alternative ways to these, but I believe them to be less effective for various reasons.

5.4.1 Massing troops

I was unsure about whether or not this one should fall under the tactical or strategic attacking bit since it is in a way both. Firstly it probably comes naturally through the grand plan, i.e. you will have more troops against the enemy's by virtue of having more players of your team in that area, since that is designated as where to attack. A second part of this though comes from massing (elite) troops on a a flank, using the overwhelming firepower there push back or destroy the enemy units infront of them, while the rest of your army pins the rest of the enemy's army into place.

This is a role where I find that light infantry or foot guards shine, because they have high shooting stats meaning that the enemy will probably lose against them.

The general should be close by to the pushing force in order to use inspire to break a unit quickly to gain an advantage. It can pay-off to have light cavalry close to the pushing force as well in order to hit routing enemy units a bit, in order to prevent them from rallying. The magical rally threshold is at around 50% of the unit. This may be hard to do for various reasons due to enemy cavalry, exhaustion of your cavalry or the enemy units routing into cover behind enemy units but not going for it when you have a good opportunity is inadvisable.

5.4.2 Melee attack & combined arms

This tactic pretty much works in the same way as the above one, but it requires elite melee units instead of shooting units. This means that grenadiers and guards are ideal for this. Including at least one unit of inspiring units, in order to boost the morale. It is important to note that while the build relies on melee to win the engagement, it only needs to rely on melee to the point where you have a definite shooting advantage, i.e. you should not go in with the mentality that you are going to completely destroy the enemy in melee, since simply put, your units will get tired and start losing melees and charges after a while if you just keep charging. Thus, it is critical to know when to stop rolling in units into the melee, and when to start reforming the units that were in melee.

This tactic is a lot riskier these days due to changes made in the patches. It used to be one of the most used tactics in the game with slightly varied execution up until v5. The reason for this being risky is the the heavy casualties caused by close range shooting, meaning that it's very hard to get your own units into melee without breaking. In order to get your units safely into melee you almost invariably need to use cavalry to force your enemy into forming squares with their infantry to lessen the short range fire.

There are two ways to force squares. The clean and harder way to do it is to get your cavalry in behind the enemy infantry, feigning a charge of the cavalry while at the same time charging your infantry. It is critical to keep your cavalry at a charge course long enough for the infantry charge to hit home. Similarly it is vital for the infantry not to charge into infantry in line, i.e. timing is key so that the cavalry would arrive in melee slightly before your infantry, but not so much before that it is routed and gone by the time the infantry hits home. This is hard to put into practice, because the enemy is obviously going to be less than exited about having cavalry behind his lines, so getting it there & having it free to force squares on the infantry is obviously going to be rather hard, not to mention that most cavalry that poses a sufficient danger in melee against a unit of infantry will be very cumbersome to manoeuvre to behind enemy lines.

The dirty combined arms melee attack essentially means attacking your cavalry through your own infantry while the infantry is charging against the enemy infantry. The thing that rains down on your parade with this tactic is the fact that cavalry is kinda crap as are squares, so either a dull (for not noticing) or a bright (for realising) person will simply stay in line relying on guard mode to shred both the infantry and cavalry.

Both of these variants rely quite heavily on having some form of light cavalry to follow up on the routed enemies, since melee charges will leave a lot of units liable to rally, which will be a nightmare if they start rallying in awkward places.

It is very important to have your general close to a melee attack, because morale is very critical in melee situations.

As a final note on combined arms melee attacks, they rely quite heavily on cavalry, and as such it is very advisable to bring some form of non-light cavalry in order to get melee & staying power.

5.4.3 The canister creep

The canister creep relies as the name suggests on canister fire. Simply put, it involves using horse-artillery or 6lbers (or lighter) artillery offensively by rolling it up together with the infantry using the power of canister to push the enemy back. This is inherently a bit problematic because constantly redeploying the artillery is not fast, even if we are talking about horse artillery, which is not good when attacking since attacking is a race against the clock most times. Secondly, artillery is generally at it's most vulnerable when it is limbering/unlimbering, doubly so when it is doing it close to the enemy, meaning that the enemy may get an easy opportunity to grab your guns as per the whole pouncing on opportunities part of strategic defending.

5.4.4 Skirmisher horde

This tactic involves bringing forth a lot of skirmishers using those to harass the enemy. The reason for me believing this to be an inadequate technique when attacking is the fragility of skirmishers. Skirmisher will not rout enemy units outright, while not being able to do anything in melee. The combination thus means that chances may be that the skirmishers are running back from melee too often to actually push back the enemy army.

5.4.5 Taking out artillery

One of the things that can really ruin your day when attacking is artillery firing canister at your units. The larger the guns, the more it will hurt. There is no really fool-proof way of killing enemy artillery and all ways are risky in some sense.

a) The first option is to use cavalry to do a suicide charge against the enemy artillery. This is usually the quickest and most decisive way of getting rid of the artillery. The unfortunate truth though is that it's not exactly reliable. Chances are that the enemy is going to have some infantry and or cavalry guarding the artillery, meaning that it's hard to actually get into contact with the artillery at all. Not to mention that canister is very effective at routing cavalry in it's own right. This is all about having an eye for when it's possible to kill the enemy artillery and when it isn't. This is also one of the things where it pays off to know your enemy, since bad enemies will make it easier to grab the artillery, while good players will use it as a honey-trap to kill off your cavalry with ease.

b) Skirmishers. Artillery crews, skirmishers and generals all have ridiculously small hitboxes, this in turn means that they are less affected by shooting. This means that skirmishers are pretty much the only unit that is able to stand in canister fire for more than a symbolic amount of time. The flipside of this statement is of course that artillery crews are able to stand in skirmisher fire for a long time as well. Thus this is quite slow, and in combination with the fact that skirmishers are fragile will mean that it's not exactly a very reliable way to get rid of artillery.

c) Counter-battery fire. As with skirmishers it's not exactly quick. Secondly the truth may be that you end up losing the artillery duel, leaving you in a pretty tight spot. Things to consider is making sure that you are very slightly on a reverse slope meaning that enemy cannon balls have to make direct hits on your unit, since bouncing will send them too high, while giving you an ability to fire on the enemy without this consideration. Secondly, it's always preferable to be firing into the flank of the enemy battery. The other version of using artillery to push back enemy artillery is using canister. If you have heavier caliber guns you might roll up and just clear out the enemy battery with canister. This is quite risky though, since a lucky roundshot from the enemy guns may rout your entire battery. So the canister method is only recommended with horse artillery. Long range artillery can of course be combined with skirmishers for quicker results.

d) The bum-rush. Essentially a way of just doing a combined infantry and cavalry charge on the battery in a similar manner as the dirty combined arms meaning that the artillery cannot rout all units with canister before being wiped out itself. This is costly, but it relies on the fact that canister will leave units in a state where they can rally.

5.4.6 Houses

More a state-of-mind tip than concrete advice on how to assault houses, is that you ought to treat houses with respect, but not with fear. You can tank fire from houses for quite some time, so as long as you have a plan that you are carrying out you can ignore the fire from the house and just push-forward.

5.4.7 Forests

Forests can be a nightmare when attacking for several reasons. They may completely limit your room to maneuver or the forest may be nicely perpendicular to your direction of attack giving the enemy a huge cover bonus, making defeating them with shooting rather hard. There are a few solutions to forests depending on how large they are, angles etc. The basic procedure is to simply get into the forest as well meaning that both of you have cover. On top of this you want to push closer than you usually would, in order to not make the forest a tar-pit where you are bogged down not accomplishing much. The enemy might not exactly like you walking into the forest. In this situation it might pay off to use artillery to push the enemy back with canister to gain a bridgehead for your infantry in the forest.

Forests also open up for the possibility of melee. Due to the less effective shooting it may be a lot easier to get into a melee where you quickly kill the enemy rather than slugging it out for ages in shooting. Beware, using combined arms is still recommended in a forest.

5.5 Tactical defending

This is generally a summary of procedures on not how to die when defending. These have generally been covered in a larger scale under strategic defending, nevertheless, it's important to look at the basics of this.

5.5.1 The (heavy) artillery

(Heavy artillery) canister will generally(/really) put a dent into anything that is stupid enough to come into it. Thus you can really build a solid defense around a few artillery batteries. My personal recommendation is Austria with the 12lber batteries at 750 each. The key to using artillery and canister as a defensive measure is of course to keep the artillery alive.

There are roughly two ways of keeping artillery safe. The first way involves infantry which I highly unscientifically will call the more popular option. This is using infantry and having the artillery "embedded" in the infantry. So that the infantry can fend of the attacking cavalry keeping the artillery crew safe. I am rather dubious of this for a couple of reasons. If the artillery is not part of the main battle line there is nothing preventing the cavalry from running circles around the infantry until it gets an angle. The square won't protect the artillery crew perfectly. So you will probably lose the limbers, if not the entire artillery battery. Secondly, this disables the infantry from firing because the shooting would blue-on-blue the artillery crew, accomplishing what the cavalry set out to do in the first place. My third objection to this is that if the artillery is a part of the battle line then it's highly pointless to have infantry doing nothing getting hit in the process. The same holds true in an artillery duel. The best use of infantry to defend artillery that I have seen is to have the artillery embedded in the main battle line, and have the defending infantry run out a bit in front of the main line to prevent the cavalry from getting into contact.

The other method of keeping artillery safe is to use cavalry. Essentially what this means is that your own cavalry will be close enough to the artillery to fend off any opportunistic enemy cavalry. This is generally safer since cavalry can move to face enemy cavalry so that it doesn't get into contact with the artillery, and it does not have to be ontop of the artillery, enabling it not to tank hits in an artillery duel. Furthermore, when defending cavalry is there as a deterrent to melee and check on enemy cavalry. Which it can do for a larger amount of units, so having the artillery be the primary one of these does not exactly detract from the purpose of the cavalry.

The third defense for artillery is inherent in canister in the sense that it becomes more and more efficient the closer the enemy gets. So cavalry closing can be routed by canister as well if other methods are not in place/fail.

As a last resort you can choose to have the crew of the guns run away, by first telling them to attack in melee and then once the limbers are loose run them somewhere else to safety.

5.5.2 Terrain

Defending gives you the luxury of choosing the terrain. This means that you have many options of using terrain against your enemy in a way where your inferior units can take on his superior units. One of these situations is forests. I have seen many situations where normal lines have held off guards indefinitely due to being inside a forest.

River crossings are another favourite for defending, since it forces the enemy to come at you with a smaller frontage than you can have. This means that you get the opportunity to bring more guns to bear, which is always rather nice.

Houses will also give you a strong-point to pivot your line on. The reason why houses are nice is because they cannot be flanked, and because it's hard to assault a supported house. So pivoting back the line on the house is an excellent way of not having an exposed pivot point.

Hills are quite self-explanatory, needless to say, you do not have to accept fighting up-hill as the defender.

5.5.3 How to defend against a combined arms melee attack

Defending against a clean combined arms simply means to keep your infantry shooting for as long as possible before forming squares to fend off the enemy cavalry. At the same time you should use your cavalry to hit the enemy cavalry and/or infantry in the melee in order to add some extra melee oomph in your favour. The trick is to keep your cavalry from getting destroyed by the enemy cavalry before the melee, while at the same time having to close by enough to help your infantry once the melee has started.

Against a dirty combined arms it probably won't pay off to form squares at all, since guard mode will do more good than squares.

5.5.4 Defending mentality and awareness

It's quite hard for me to come up with a lot of great ways to defend in, because defense is mostly reactive in nature. I personally believe that most new people feel more comfortable defending, while in practice being better at attacking than defending. The reason for this is that defending requires what in Finnish would be called "pelisilmä", which means eye for the game. What this means is that you have to be able to read what your opponent is going to do in order to counter it and not get killed by it, and this is a skill that is hard for me to give any pre-packaged solution for.

I have one tip that is very management consulting in style, in the sense that it's quite obvious yet deserves to be said.

When you are defending, imagine what you would do next with the opponents units in that position, and start preparing for that so that you won't get destroyed.

The other tip on mentality is that you as a defender never should accept to be in a situation where you are being beaten, and simply deny that from happening by falling back or moving up other units to change the outcome.

5.6 Cavalry specific tips

Cavalry is the arm of an army that requires the most finesse and being able to read the battle for it to be effective.

5.6.1 Know yourself and your enemy

In order for you to effective using cavalry you must have a rough understanding of the stats of different cavalry units. Just because most of Saxony's roster is spectacularly bad does not stop their Hussars from stomping all over your Hungarian Hussars. Stats are the main driver of cavalry vs. cavalry engagements, and they generally end in a way where there are no second chances or ways to get a feel for the power of a unit before losing against them, so it's very important to know how powerful the enemy cavalry units are.

Mounted Jägers are one of the more hidden things in this category to be aware of, since they have infantry melee stats, which means that they have a very high charge bonus compared to other cavalry, and a fairly high attack stat. This means that one should not underestimate them in a role of "lancers".

5.6.2 Commit "enough" units

Knowing what units to commit and when is the key to cavalry engagements. Fatigue is a very important consideration when it comes to cavalry, this means that you should not commit too many units into a single melee that you will win comfortably, since the reserves will act as your frontline cavalry while the committed units rest back to efficient levels of fatigue. This also means that you have free units to counter any reinforcement that the enemy might send. (A part of reading the battlefield is to see what cavalry reinforcements are in range of weighing in on a cavalry-fight, and thus what you need to budget for with your cavalry.)

When taking on a stronger unit with multiple weak units it also makes sense to keep one or two units back. Since charging in both units in a blob won't increase your effectiveness against the enemy, while it will tire out both your units from the start. Holding one of them back for a while will give you a second charge bonus, and renewed energy into the battle to swing it your way. Bonus points if you have managed to move the second unit to hit the enemy in the rear. This hinges on understanding the stats, and how long a battle will last, since if your units will rout almost immediately you have less time to do something fancy, if you even have any time at all.

5.6.3 Forcing squares/attacking infantry

Cavalry mainly serves as a way to leverage the power of your own infantry, this comes in the form of forcing squares which is needed to get into melee, or to out-shoot superior infantry. When forcing squares the best way to do it is to simply double click on a unit so that you get the bugle-call (to help notify the enemy about the cavalry threat, you want him to deal with it after all), after you have done that you ought to re-rout the unit to run to a location very close to the enemy unit, but not into it, this way you do not get entangled in melee making it harder to pull back once the square has been formed.

Attacking infantry with cavalry involves the opposite. I.e. not starting off by charging the unit but rather running at the ground close to it in order to not sound the bugle. This way you can pull out if the enemy notices without getting entangled, and if you believe that the enemy hasn't noticed you can actually commit to a charge at very short distance giving the enemy little time to react.

5.6.4 Keeping cavalry safe

Cavalry has large hitboxes, and cavalry can be hurt (far) outside the intended range of weapons, which means that it's worthwhile to keep it in a place where it won't get hit by stray bullets, or cannonballs.

5.7 Artillery Specific Tips

Artillery is rather point and click in nature in the current incarnation and accordingly there is not that much to mention except a few work-arounds to bugs, as well as a few bugs to abuse. The biggest keys to using artillery correctly is making sure that it gets to use canister and that you keep it safe, which are less artillery use related rather than supporting it related.

5.7.1 Aiming

Artillery has a nice little bug from ETW that has been carried over. Essentially what it does is that artillery automatically target the flanks of enemy units it's told to attack. This is hardly ideal due to a) units being thinnest on the flanks, meaning that hitting rounds do less damage and b) rounds are more likely to miss. To compensate for this you ought to manually aim your artillery.

Artillery, furthermore cannot shoot at certain angles to it's sides and behind itself, unless you target the ground there. Thus you have to target manually if you want to hit a unit that is behind the artillery.

Finally, artillery may not always aim optimally to hit a certain place height wise. You can change the height at which it aims by firing further away (even targeting areas outside of it's range) or closer by than the intended target. You can also change the height by aiming at different terrain levels. Aiming at a hill will produce a different height than a valley, even if neither of those are the intended target. This is mainly a historical note from ETW, where shrapnel used to be deadly very far out of range, meaning that this range trickery was very important. These days it will help in hitting very cleverly placed enemy artillery positions, but other than that it's mainly academical.

5.7.2 Hitting cavalry

In the section about cavalry I mentioned that cavalry can be killed by artillery outside of the artillery's range. This can be abused using the above targeting advice to have small caliber guns kill cavalry at very great distances. Secondly, the larger hitboxes of cavalry make them an excellent target for artillery at any range, especially combined with the smaller unit sizes of light cavalry.
Last edited by Hekko on Tue Jul 21, 2015 10:49 pm, edited 13 times in total.

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Re: NTW3 for dummies - How to not telegraph that you are completely new to the mod

Postby Hekko » Thu Jun 25, 2015 1:20 pm

6. Army builds revisited

6.1 Purpose

Previously I have spoken about unit selection in a more vacuum like state, where units are measured purely on their cost-efficiency. While this is very important, it is ultimately in service of a greater goal, which in turn requires a greater understanding of the game, which is why it's brought up here rather than with the rest of army selection.

This greater goal is what I would like to call the purpose of the army. What this means is that you first need an idea of what you want to do with your whole army, whether that is to do a bayonet charge with grenadiers supported by cavalry, or to capture a hill from which you will use artillery to dominate your opponent.

I personally believe that a lot of newer players do not have a purpose for their army when building it, resulting in a situation where they pick units without any real criteria, which in turn weakens the army overall since there is a lack of synergy between the units as well as a lack of plan of how to use them.

An example of this would be someone picking a unit of cuirassiers while picking several units of artillery. Neither investment will be fatal in it's own right, and in fact both units (cuirassiers less so) can be used as a decisive factor in a battle, but the units lack synergy in the sense that the artillery does not really need support from heavy cavalry (light cavalry and infantry is just fine to keep the artillery safe, and these units fill valuable roles when not baby-sitting) while the artillery means that there isn't enough infantry to be used in conjunction with the heavy cavalry to warrant trying something with the cavalry.

Similarly having heavy foot artillery with an attacking army is a waste since it won't keep up and fulfill it's role as canister machine, while defending without artillery will be a bit of a struggle.

6.2 Omni-present roles

Once you understand the importance of having a purpose for the army build I will try to fill in some of the blanks.

There are a few omni-present roles that have to be filled regardless of what type of army you are fielding.

6.2.1 Scout cavalry

All armies need to get eyes on the enemy, thus you are pretty much bound to bring two or three units of light cavalry to scout the enemy. Furthermore these units are useful when it comes to grabbing the enemy's artillery and making sure that routers do not come back. All of these roles are ever useful, and thus you will need to field some cavalry no matter what overall purpose your army has.

6.2.2 Placeholder infantry

All armies need to cover ground, even if it's not planning to do anything spectacular in that area, simply to keep the enemy from massing in the area where you are going execute your main plan. Thus you will need some fairly decent and fairly cheap infantry to serve in this role. For new players I recommend the two-chevron line infantry for most factions since it's competent enough to hold a line without you having to micro that much. Nevertheless, note that some people swear by various types of militia for this role and never leave home without at least 5 units of militia. (I don't understand those people by the way, but on the other hand, I think most people think that I bring ridiculously small armies most of the time).

6.3 The massing troops tactic

When massing shooty troops to push a flank you need the following roles filled in order for it to work, ontop of the omni-present kinds.

6.3.1 Elites

The tactic hinges on shooty elite units, and thus you preferably want as many of them as possible with as good stats as possible.

6.3.2 Anti-artillery units

You need some ways to slay the enemy artillery since that can really take a dump on your parade. Thus you need to be ready to deal with it. Personally I tend to bring four units of light cavalry to have enough to throw a few away when killing of pesky enemy artillery.

Furthermore I recommend bringing a unit of skirmishers for this job, in-case the artillery position is too guarded to be taken on with cavalry.

6.3.3 Melee deterrent

A shooty build can quickly go sour if a unit or two of grenadiers catch you out when you are repositioning on a flank. Thus you need some form of deterrent against melee. Generally this is served by the light cavalry but medium cavalry may be brought for this purpose if you know that the enemy is particularly melee hungry (ALFR for instance).

6.3.4 (Optional) Stabilizer for the placeholder infantry

The non-pushing contingent can come under heavy attack from the enemy. In a 1v1 this would not be a problem, since you would simply pivot that part of your army back. In a team game this can be trickier since that would open a gap in your line which could be exploited to separate you from your ally. So having a unit to stabilize that part of the line if it comes under attack can be quite important. I would recommend using horse artillery for this, since it can be kept out of harms way until it's needed and still be brought up quickly to use canister to end the attacking ambitions the enemy has against your placeholders. The artillery can also be used in a role as anti-artillery unit, since it can be used to either canister enemy artillery or help your skirmishers wither the enemy gun-crew down.

6.3.5 What to avoid with this army-purpose

Heavy cavalry ought to be avoided, simply because the money could be invested into the shooty contingent, and any support that the shooting contingent might need can be covered more cost efficiently with either medium or light cavalry.

Heavy artillery should be avoided since it will be to slow to keep up with the fast-moving army, and having artillery just fire round-shot for the entire battle is wasteful.

Grenadiers are another unit that simply does not fit the purpose of this army. You are paying extra for melee skills that will not be used since your plan is to shoot.

Sappers are a waste for the same reason as grenadiers, as well as since you won't need defenses for artillery for an army with little of it.

6.4 Combined arms melee attack tactic

The main purpose of a combined arms melee attack army is to get into melee and win it, however, there is an extra consideration, which as mentioned earlier is that you will have to do quite a lot of shooting, this means that you have to consider the shooting stats to some extent, while balancing them with the melee stats.

6.4.1 Melee infanttry

Like the massed elites approach this is also the main functional part of your army. Preferably you want quite a few units of grenadiers and/or guards. The better stats and the more you get of them the better, nevertheless, and more so than in a shooty build you will have to consider the rest of the army, because, the larger (more decisive) the scale of melee attack, the harder it is to pull off successfully.

6.4.2 Supporting cavalry

It's absolutely critical to have medium or even heavy cavalry supporting your combined arms attack, and thus you will need to make sure to invest in some decent supporting cavalry. Light cavalry will not cut it, because it lacks the staying-power in a melee. I would recommend two units of French dragoons or equivalent for new players since a dirt combined arms is easier, and the larger number of men will be more forgiving for a new player. Cuirassiers and other heavy cavalry have a lot of staying power in a melee and thus one unit of heavies can perform in the role quite well, nevertheless, it will suffer more in a head on charge due to guard mode, making it more dependent on timing and reading the battlefield.

6.4.3 Chasers

The truth is that most of the time the enemy units that get routed by a bayonet charge will be able to rally and come back to fight you again. Your supporting cavalry will be in no shape to actually make sure that the routing units keep routing since you need it to leverage your ongoing melee, not to mention that it will be moving at the speed of an asthmatic ant after the melee. Thus you need some units to follow up on routing enemies, to make sure they stay out of business for the duration of the battle. Usually this can be covered by your light cavalry that you have for scouting, but adding an extra unit or two may not hurt.

6.4.4 What to avoid

Its hard to say what to definitely to avoid with this tactic since the holding contingent can essentially be played in many different ways. Nevertheless I have a few units & roles to advice against in general terms.

Anti-artillery is in general not a role that needs to be filled, because the artillery will be swept away by the melee most of the time, thus having units solely for this purpose is a waste. This does not mean that it might not be fruitful to get a unit of light cavalry to clip the battery during the charge, to make sure that the battery does not get off too much canister.

(Heavy) artillery will slow down your army and it won't keep up with the dynamic movement of your and the enemies lines, thus it will be a wasted investment. Secondly, even if you have horse artillery, it will probably have to relocate too often, and you generally won't need a stabilising artillery for your placeholder infantry, since the enemy will be so busy micromanaging the flank where you are meleeing that they have no interest what-so-ever in launching an attack on your weaker side.

6.5 The canister creep tactic

Since this tactic relies on artillery it's fairly self-explanatory, but I will add the stuff for the sake of completeness.

6.5.1 Heavy artillery

This is the workhorse of this kind of tactic, and thus you realistically speaking want at least two units of heavy artillery.

6.5.2 Artillery minders

As stated, the difficulty with an artillery based build hinges on keeping the artillery alive rather than getting the artillery to produce effective results when in use. Thus you will need at least a few units of artillery minders that keep your artillery alive.

Personally I would load up on high-end light cavalry to fill this role (the scout cavalry partially covers this role too). However, other people will get low-end infantry to fill the same role.

6.5.3 What to avoid

Skirmishers might seem appealing to a build like this, however, skirmishers, like artillery, are a soft unit that needs defence against cavalry. If you have too many soft units you will end up being exposed somewhere, meaning that any cavalry movement on the enemy side will have you milling about unproductively with some units.

Heavy cavalry is simply a waste because it does not synergise at all with a play style like this. It won't have any infantry to support, and the artillery is fine with cheaper cavalry minding it.

Grenadiers will be wasted money, since you do not intend to melee anyone and the melee stats will go wasted.

Shooty elite infantry are a mixed bag in this context, generally speaking even conscripts will hold against guards in a shoot out as long as they have a battery of artillery pouring canister into the guards, thus you do not need to have too high shooting stats either. Nevertheless, it may be interesting to have shooting stats in places that are more exposed and further away from the protective canister umbrella of the artillery.

7. Nations

Different nations have different strengths, and thus it's worthwhile to cover the nations after having covered the purpose of armies first so that armies can be viewed in context of a plan rather than as the sum of it's units. I will not run through all armies since I have not played all of them enough to have proper judgement on them and their rosters.

7.1 Austria

Austria is a slow army in the sense that units move inherently rather slowly. The other general point to note is that the unit sizes for Austria are rather large. In addition Austria has access to good light cavalry, and inexpensive 12lber artillery. The shooting stats for infantry are quite poor, but there are a few units that shine, while the grenadiers are top-tier melee wise.

All of this means that Austria can be played in a number of fashions ranging from relying on the 12lbers to make chaos with your enemy, while the elite light cavalry keep them safe, having placeholder infantry with large unit sizes making them quite effecting at absorbing damage, and equally importantly at rallying. At the same time Austria can be played as an attacking army relying on grenadiers to make short work of enemies with their good melee stats and high numbers while getting the sufficiently good Austrian cavalry to leverage the melee efforts. The area where they suffer is pushing with a shooty army due to the lack of true elites and their slightly slower speed, however, even there they can make a good effort with Deutchmeisters.

7.2 Britain

Britain essentially is reduced to a single play style which is going to be a shooting push, because cavalry is too cost-inefficient to leverage a melee and because their artillery has too good stats to be brought in larger numbers. The flipside of this is that Britain is extremely well equipped to perform a shooting push with light infantry and several large guard units sporting 28-110 in shooting stats, at rather reasonable cost! UK also has access to some very well rounded light cavalry making them the poster child of shooty armies.

7.3 France

France is very well rounded in the sense that they have everything and fittingly so since they are the driving force of the era, ironically though, they do lack access to more high-end grenadiers than the baseline (with the exception of carabiniers capped to 1) meaning that creating a successful French column charge may be quite difficult. The artillery is also quite accurate i.e. expensive, however, units get more operational guns, which somewhat compensates for the expense. France also has one of the most well rounded cavalry rosters, if not the most well rounded.

Ultimately France can be played in any number of ways effectively due to the overall strength of the roster. The elites and lights mean that you can have a ridiculously large elite contingent despite unit caps, albeit at slightly lower shooting stats than UK counterparts. The grenadiers are generally competent enough and the dragoons are inexpensive enough battle cavalry to do melee effectively and the artillery has enough variety and high cap of total number of batteries to enable an artillery based version of France.

7.4 Prussia

Prussia is probably my least favourite major, so maybe I am missing something. Nonetheless, I would like to say that they suffer from quite severe vanilla-ism with few redeeming qualities. The fact is, Prussia isn't seriously lacking in any area, they have access to cheap landwehr 12lber artillery, competent light cavalry, competent shooty units, competent melee units, but ultimately, that's what they are, competent. Prussia does not shine in any area and thus while not lacking severely in any area they are quite hard to give a purpose to, which is what I find off-putting. The shining units that they do have are of course capped so that you cannot mass enough of them to actually play the army in a certain way.

7.5 Russia

Russia is everything you would expect it to be, with a few surprises. The shooting is bad, the units are large, the melee is good and the artillery has large batteries and comes in extremely many different flavours and the cavalry is good with good variety.

Essentially Russia is Austria but in a slightly different package.

The surprising unit of the Russians are the Guard Yegeria which have excellent shooting stats, while retaining quite respectable melee.

Russia works as either artillery or melee based, shooting with russia won't get you very far, Guard Yegeria or not.

7.6 Imperial Guard

The 'hard mode' major faction. The IG has access to the best units in the game man-for-man, some of which are even quite cost efficient, nonetheless the guard lacks access to placeholder infantry and the guard lacks access to affordable cavalry or artillery.

What this means is that the Guard is bi-polar, in a disorganised game without teamwork, purpose and communication the guard are not worthy of being called a major, on the other hand, when properly supported, with the plan built around the guard they can pull off legendary things in either shooting or melee or both.

7.7 Bavaria

Bavaria is like France in the sense that it has quite a lot of named elite units that make up the core of it’s fighting potential. In addition to this Bavaria also has access to some reasonable medium cavalry making Bavaria a well rounded faction.

I would personally recommend going for a shooty approach with Bavaria relying on large numbers of elites to kill the enemy, but a melee approach would be valid as well.

7.8 Italy

Italy is like mini France. What this means is that you can essentially play Italy as France, except Italians are slightly weaker man for man at roughly the same price. Italy also does not have it’s guards split off into a separate faction, meaning that you can utilize the morale boost and melee skills of the guard units present in the roster combined with the cavalry to play a respectable melee approach, at the same time Italy has access to so many guards and the likes at a fairly reasonable price meaning that you can build an elite shooty contingent out of it. This also means that there is some overlap between the shooty and the melee builds making Italy a very versatile faction and overall the best minor.

7.9 Poland

Poland has access to some rather good lancers as well as a lot of solid infantry. While few units stick out as true killers as in other rosters the Polish roster allows for a large number of decent units making the polish infantry a force to be reckoned with. In this sense Poland is quite similar to Portugal, with the exception of Poland having access to worthwhile cavalry as well. This solidity of infantry also means that Poland is a versatile faction, which sits poorly with me personally, because I find that universality draws away from having a clear purpose.

7.10 Portugal

Portugal like Poland does not have any true killer infantry, but quite a lot of inbetween infantry. Portugal has the dubious distinction of having access to some of the worst cavalry in the game, this solidly plants Portugal in the area of pushing with elite infantry. Another idea one could have when playing Portugal is to have Portugal to make up a large yet manoeuvrable holding contingent with the large number of infantry.

7.11 Saxony

Saxony is the inverse of Portugal, Saxony has access to some of the best cavalry in the game while having by far the worst infantry of any major-minors in the game. Unfortunately this has one quite nasty side-effect which is that Saxony is crap in the current game. It may be rated at 18, but that does not tell the real story of how powerful Saxony is. The reason for this is that cavalry is not a game winning force any longer, and the infantry is so bad that even large masses of it are not going to be much more than a speedbump for anything else than militia.

The bright point of Saxony is skirmishers and artillery that come at a very cheap pricetag, nevertheless, there are other factions that are a lot better overall that also get cheap artillery and/or skirmishers.

Saxony used to be a rather good faction a few years ago but in it’s current state it’s a novelty act that people like Liberalis, MAK and Sloop will take to amuse and challenge themselves with.

7.12 Sweden

If Italy is mini France Sweden is essentially mini Britain. There are some differences though, the Swedish artillery is considerably worse i.e. cheaper i.e. better than the British counterparts, meaning that using artillery in a meaningful role is a valid tactic. Secondly Sweden does not quite have access to the high-end light cavalry that Britain does. On the other hand, Sweden has access to mounted jaegers, which are bugged at the moment with a crazy charge bonus.

Sweden would be rather suitable to play either in an artillery based fashion or using guards and elite infantry to push with. A melee based version of Sweden could perhaps work but is ultimately a worse choice than playing Sweden in any other fashion due to the high shooty stats and lack-lustre cavalry options for melee support.

7.13 Württemberg

Württemberg is the posterchild of a shooty elite push with Leichte Infantrie with 26 accuracy and guard jaegers with 28 accuracy. The fact that you can get a very respectable amount of both these units means that it’s an elite contingent most things will have a hard time fending off. Artillery is also mercifully cheap. The downside is that light cavalry is limited and bad, forcing one to resort to medium cavalry, which is not brilliant and less versatile for the needs of Württemberg.

8. General Pointers

8.1 Reserves

Reserves are a bad idea (except in the context of cavalry). Simply put, reserves are essentially a way of piecemealing your army to the enemy. When you had 8 units the enemy had 10 units, so once that battle is over lets say that you have 3 units left and the enemy has 8 because they simply could roll you up due to having more units enabling them to flank you. So even if you bring your reserves in at that point you will be down 5 to 8 units. This is of course a heavily stylised example of the situation, but the logic still stands, having reserves means that you are granting the enemy a local superiority in the actual battle, and exploited local superiorities is the stuff that won battles are made of.

Historically reserves were important, but the game is different from history. In history reserves would be important because morale would be more unpredictable than it is in-game, sure stuff may rout quickly, nevertheless, you have a nice meter that tells you how the unit is feeling, and you know that you can retreat it to prevent a rout. Secondly, morale stats are easily observable on units, while in history this would not be possible. Combat effectiveness stats similarly are an example of why reserves are not needed. I can tell you for a fact that British KGL light foot will defeat french grenadiers in a shoot-out, where as historically this would not be a known fact.

In addition to the observability of factors that would be unobservable historically we as the player also have the benefit of seeing the entire battlefield in real time, being able to issue orders in real time, which will be followed in real time. This means it's a lot easier to move the army and to maintain control over units, which historically could not be done due to lacking communications.

Finally, historically there are larger concerns than just a single battle. In NTW3 you throw everything into the battle because that is the only context that matters, while in history often you would need reserves to be able to cover a retreat in case you lost, because you will not get 10000 to spend on a new army 45 minutes later.

8.2 Line vs brick

In NTW3 the two front ranks of a unit fire. This is a truth that isn’t entirely true. The actual number of ranks firing is dependent on line of sight, so differences in elevation between the two units can mean that a lot more than 2 ranks are engaged in a fire-fight. Even even ground will have about 2.5 ranks firing in my experience.

This has some implications on how to play the game, because go thin to win isn’t always true, the fact is, the more men you bring to bear against a certain point in the enemy line the better you will fare, even if they do not fire it means that casualties are spread across more units making morale more stable. The caveat is: Is this efficient? Most probably not.

While you have massed a large number of units against a single spot in the enemy line the enemy has more units to move about either double-teaming your allies or outflanking your thick formations with lines that can bring more muskets to bear.

Thus I would recommend that you keep your units either 2 or 3 ranks deep most of the time since these offer the optimal amount space-cost-efficiency. Any more and you are wasting cost and anything less and you are wasting space, which in turn means firepower in absolute terms.

There is however an area for bricks of infantry (assault columns in proper terminology), which ironically is melee charges, not because the formation depth matters for the actual melee, quite the opposite, you want your charge to have a wider front for a larger number of people utilizing the charge-bonus, but because units that are wider than the targeted unit will have the pathing go crazy with the unit wheeling to the side and not charging home.

8.3 Rallying

This should probably be called routing rather than rallying, but rallying seems like a more positive headline. Essentially what I want to point out is the threshold for rallying units, since units will not be shattered as in vanilla but rather just broken. This is important to know from a pursuit stand-point more so than from rallying your own units, since that will happen if it happens.

The general rule of thumb for rallying units is the following:
The unit will need at least 50% of it's original strength in order to rally.
The unit will only rally once.

9. Afterword

This guide grew a lot larger than I imagined originally and has covered and re-covered several areas that I find important in order to play the game well and have fun while playing.

Having written all of this though I still believe that there isn’t any good way of learning how to play the game except by playing the game, making mistakes and learning from them. My aim for the guide is to help new players to avoid some of the more fatal mistakes in order to increase the early enjoyment of a mod with a very steep learning curve, secondly I hope that this guide will also make it easier for new players to learn from their mistakes, so that they do not have to repeat the same thing too often until they conclude that it does not work.

Ultimately this is just my view on how to play the game effectively and while I do view myself as a fairly competent player I know that there are a lot of other players out there who are better than me who have entirely different views than I do on how to play the game simply because they know something I do not know, or they have a different plan or they simply have a different playstyle than I do. I thus believe that the strength of this guide lies in it giving a basis for people to get a grasp of the game from which they can launch their own personal playstyle. I hope that new people find this useful.
Last edited by Hekko on Tue Aug 04, 2015 5:33 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: NTW3 for dummies - How to not telegraph that you are completely new to the mod

Postby Lord Lepic » Thu Jun 25, 2015 5:18 pm

thanks very useful
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Re: NTW3 for dummies - How to not telegraph that you are completely new to the mod

Postby Tac » Thu Jun 25, 2015 9:21 pm

You need a large N in your name.
Great write up mate.

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Re: NTW3 for dummies - How to not telegraph that you are completely new to the mod

Postby Lord Avon Ulysses » Fri Jun 26, 2015 1:28 am

Nice post, we may sticky it.
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Re: NTW3 for dummies - How to not telegraph that you are completely new to the mod

Postby Lord Lepic » Fri Jun 26, 2015 11:31 am

that's a great idea as i am sure all new players would benefit greatly from this information
i am already using it and it works !!!
really nice to see the players supporting new players it will for sure help the community grow
i found this as well yesterday here
NTW3 5.0 - Release Notes & Download Links
User Interface Mod
If your screen resolution is above 1600, we highly recommend you to download this little mod that will greatly enhance your visual comfort in the Unit Selection Screen.
Just download, unpack and place into your /napoleon total war/data folder.
a real hidden gem and great additional mini mod
as looking through the unit cards on screen is really hard as there for some factions are so many
its not well known could a screenshot and it be highlighted ?
i discovered it from watching the various games as well as looking at Harouts screenshots
lancier then kindly explained to me and provided the info for it
Last edited by Lord Lepic on Tue Jun 30, 2015 12:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: NTW3 for dummies - How to not telegraph that you are completely new to the mod

Postby Lord Lancier » Fri Jun 26, 2015 4:40 pm

Really nice one Hekko !
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Re: NTW3 for dummies - How to not telegraph that you are completely new to the mod

Postby Hekko » Sat Jun 27, 2015 4:26 pm

Thanks for all of the kind words. This is all still very much work in progress, and I am adding bits as I have time. I will look over formatting and adding visual aids once I have done all of the written content.

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Re: NTW3 for dummies - How to not telegraph that you are completely new to the mod

Postby Hekko » Thu Jul 02, 2015 2:04 pm

Added some more content about attacking tactics as well as defending tactics.

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Re: NTW3 for dummies - How to not telegraph that you are completely new to the mod

Postby Sloop » Thu Jul 02, 2015 10:29 pm

Nice read and very informative for new players.

Thank you for your effort.

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Re: NTW3 for dummies - How to not telegraph that you are completely new to the mod

Postby Lord Lepic » Mon Jul 13, 2015 10:11 am

NTW3 in your Steam Games Library
If you want to show your Steam friends that you play NTW3, please follow these steps:

1. Launch Steam.
2. Click "Add a (Non-Steam) Game" in the lower left corner of your Steam window.
3. Check the little box next to NTW3's name in the programs list.
4. Click "Add Selected Programs".
5. Launch NTW3 through steam or through your desktop shortcut.

In the case people don't see you playing NTW3, simply reboot your steam client.

Cheers !
Postby Lord Liberalis » Wed Sep 01, 2010 7:05 pm
Last edited by Lord Lepic on Wed Jul 15, 2015 9:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: NTW3 for dummies - How to not telegraph that you are completely new to the mod

Postby Lord Lancier » Mon Jul 13, 2015 1:30 pm

Nice one Hekko ^^ ;>
A shooty build can quickly go sour if a unit or two of grenadiers catch you out when you are repositioning on a flank. Thus you need some form of deterrent against melee. GeneA shooty build can quickly go sour if a unit or two of grenadiers catch you out when you are repositioning on a flank. Thus you need some form of deterrent against melee. Generally this is served by the light cavalry but medium cavalry may be brought for this purpose if you know that the enemy is particularly melee hungry (ALFR for instance).
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Re: NTW3 for dummies - How to not telegraph that you are completely new to the mod

Postby Chromey » Mon Jul 20, 2015 5:29 am

more 411 from one of the masters of ntw3

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Re: NTW3 for dummies - How to not telegraph that you are completely new to the mod

Postby Hekko » Tue Jul 21, 2015 10:49 pm

Updated, finally seemed to hit the max post-length.

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Re: NTW3 for dummies - How to not telegraph that you are completely new to the mod

Postby Lord Cosak » Sat Aug 08, 2015 8:08 am

Impressive work. Thank you very much.

Can I translate some chapters of your work for the most indigent of Grognards?

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Re: NTW3 for dummies - How to not telegraph that you are completely new to the mod

Postby Lord Lepic » Sat Aug 08, 2015 10:19 am

i think that would be a great idea to have translated versions !!!

what about getting this into a LORDZ steam guide?
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Re: NTW3 for dummies - How to not telegraph that you are completely new to the mod

Postby Hekko » Sat Aug 08, 2015 11:03 am

Lord Cosak wrote:Impressive work. Thank you very much.

Can I translate some chapters of your work for the most indigent of Grognards?

Please feel free to translate anything you would wish from the guide.

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Re: NTW3 for dummies - How to not telegraph that you are completely new to the mod

Postby Lord Liberalis » Sun Aug 23, 2015 10:03 am

Just discovered this thread.

Thank you for the tiresome redaction work !

I'll stick this immediately.
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Re: NTW3 for dummies - How to not telegraph that you are completely new to the mod

Postby lalacurf121 » Tue Nov 10, 2015 3:31 am

I will look over formatting and adding visual aids once I have done all of the written content.

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Re: NTW3 for dummies - How to not telegraph that you are complete noob in Multi-Player

Postby A Wellesley » Sun Feb 19, 2017 2:20 pm

Hi folks well my first post and a complete noob this thread was a great read congrats. I started playing Napoleon Total War in December and loaded this mod 3 weeks ago. Ive been a Napoleonic era nut since the age of 10 when I visited Waterloo.

Anyhoo...I have some questions about NTW7.2, and its a major piece of work highly commended.

1. Why cant my line inf make squares? Even Maitland's Ist Foot Guards cant form squares? :orly:
2. I'm missing some artillery Icons from the unit selection eg. 6lb Foot Battery -Lux- 3rd division?
3. I cant see any Howitzer units available anywhere, I miss their long ranges, and rockets gone? I know they where first used at Waterloo to little effect, but I like scaring the French Lancers. :razz:
4. I do miss the vanilla red Range display on unit selection was this removed?
5. ALL Artillery seem to have really short range, especially for canister (rifles seem to have a longer range) and the "Targeted" Option is missing?
6. If the "Targeted" Option is missing how does this make targeting a bridge or fort gate different, if there are no units to target?
7. Generals are always on foot, both sides. They look a bit twattish with the middle guy holding the flag - give them a bit of dignity! :angry-cussingwhite: --But they are the only unit that can form square, but then they look even more twattish!
8. I never found a way for mounted Dragoons to fire off their Carbines before charging in. This was common in real battles, similarly the Line Fire and Advance has gone, maybe changed with your new melee options?

Would the above indicate a bad install? or do subsequent steam updates make a difference to the current install?

I play single player, mainly Brits v French, but maybe up for some on-line team battles when I can gain a bit of experience against the ai.

Any help or comments greatly appreciated


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Re: NTW3 for dummies - How to not telegraph that you are complete noob in Multi-Player

Postby Lord Cosak » Sun Feb 19, 2017 5:31 pm

I think you're playing only the regimental mod. Check MP (classic).

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Re: NTW3 for dummies - How to not telegraph that you are complete noob in Multi-Player

Postby A Wellesley » Sun Feb 19, 2017 9:03 pm

Well thanks Lord Cossak I guess I posted in the right thread then, yes Classic much better. So when would one play regimental style?

Also had a quick look at Historical battles, Picked Jenna and the game loaded with Austria vs Britain, not Prussia vs France. Same with Waterloo
There seems no option to change this before you start the battles?

Do I need to read something I missed?

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Re: NTW3 for dummies - How to not telegraph that you are complete noob in Multi-Player

Postby trex1983 » Sun May 07, 2017 2:55 pm

A Wellesley wrote:Also had a quick look at Historical battles, Picked Jenna and the game loaded with Austria vs Britain, not Prussia vs France. Same with Waterloo
There seems no option to change this before you start the battles?
Do I need to read something I missed?

I personally havent tried it, but there is a HB loader that improves setting up HB battles. Lepic has a video tutorial on YT and you can download the *.exe file here and follow the directions to the tees:
Also come on the Discord server to come and ask around, there is always some people lurking from EU or US.

By the way, after reading this guide, i feel MUCH better. Very useful

Perhaps a newbie feedback to add to this already great thread would be during the unit selection process before a battle. I had no clue that there were a lot of Russian units that didn't have square formation and I went in an MP game with only a few that could (because i wasted my money on expensive cav, expensive arty and 2 elite skirmishers - not a good choice, so I ended up with cheaper line infantry, 2 grenadiers and "named" light infantry that has a decent range and reload).
Didn't knew about the square before the unit name indicated that the unit could form square. In my SP Campaign, almost all of them do, even the Recruit Muskets...
So I guess a minor edit would be to indicate this somewhere when Line Infantry is mentioned.

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Re: NTW3 Guide - How to not telegraph that you are complete noob in Multi-Player

Postby Lord Cosak » Wed May 10, 2017 8:16 am

In MP, infantry units able to form squares have this symbol before on the left their name : " ¤ "

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