The side having the initiative has many advantages, choose combat area, deploy any reinforcement before the other side can play any unit, attack first.
This guide is explaining how have the combat initiative in most cases, from basic UI tricks to defending your territories and invading enemy territory, but also attacking and defending towns, exploiting flee as a strategy and tactical tool, and many more.
Move and attack in one action
During the current turn AIs can play, so move close to an AI stack offers the chance to AI to attack and then you lost the initiative. Quote that to attack a stack right close to your stack you don’t need any move points.
This can be avoided by moving and attack in one action.
There two ways to move and attack in one action:
- Select the stack then move cursor above enemy stack then you see and move and attack path, then right click move and attack in one action. But this way is limited because you can’t choose the position from which you attack, so you can’t define the combat area.
- Select the stack, select the move button in UI stack panel, then move the cursor close to the enemy stack, and then move it above the enemy stack, try different positions close to enemy stack and you’ll see you can choose the position of attack. The left click (not right click) on the enemy stack to move and attack in one action.
AI stationary stacks
Be aware of stationary stacks
Before moving closer to an enemy stack, select it, and check if it is exhausted or not:
- If it is exhausted it can’t move and you don’t need be worry it moves to attack you during the current turn.
- If it isn’t exhausted, move a stack closer will risk lost the initiative because the enemy stack can move and attack in the turn.
Managing stationary stacks
There’s various ways:
- Use a unit lure to trigger the attack, then flee, and the enemy stack has lost its move points. Then you can move other stacks at will and attack with initiative (still in one action, move and attack).
- Move enough stacks by group, typically move the stack more in back the further but close enough to stack already in front, and repeat. If you move enoiuhg stakcs together, most often it will avoid any counter attack, because your moving army is too powerful. Then move your stacks close enough to then trigger move and attack and have the initiative.
Use flee to take the initiative
Use flee to remove initiative to enemy
Sometimes it’s AI that will attack your stack, then you have a problem because the AI has the initiative.
Then consider the combat area, the forces involved, and that you won’t have the initiative. If it’s not looking good for you, or if you are worry of enemy reinforcement that could come, then you have an option it’s to flee, and you achieve remove to enemy an option to have the initiative.
Manage flee properly
When a stack or unit flee, always program its next move, and at next turn, click asap the button at bottom right to make move all units and stacks with a move programmed.
To make flee more safe, use multiple units or stacks. A second unit can move to cover the fleeing unit. If the second unit is a bit far, then move it closer and program the cover move so it is triggered at beginning of next turn.
In theory with two units you can flee indefinitely by alternate units for flee. In practice it can be dangerous do it more than once or twice because of trap cases like mountains of hills blocking a unit. With 3 units and some experience in fleeing, it’s mostly safe to control an aggressive stack during many turns.
Take care that if there’s multiple enemies stack that are involved, it’s more tricky to flee, but it’s still possible with enough units.
Use flee as a powerful tool in your strategies and tactics
The base is flee allows counter attack in same turn if you have stationary stacks close enough.
Exploit it allows for example:
- Organize better a territory defense, use units closer to frontiers, and stacks more in back, if an enemy attack the front unit flee and the stacks in back counter attack with initiative.
- Organize better enemy territory invasion, ensure move powerful stacks only with some move points, more forward a unit lure/scout not too far so, it is in range of stacks in back, if the lure is attacked you have the option to counter attack and get the initiative.
With town too you need use move and attack in one action, to avoid some enemy stack close enough attack your stack moving close to a town.
But towns have a special rule, the town defender has the choice, defend the flag inside the town, or make an exit, attack and get the initiative. As AI love this last option, you need be ready not have the initiative when you attack a town.
You’ll have the choice to make an exit or not, and take the initiative or not. But in this case, consider the context, and sometimes despite having the initiative is very strong, defending the flag inside the town will be much better.
Use watchers to survey your frontiers
A watcher is just a unit watching an area. The point of using them is to make flee tactic even more efficient to counter attack with stacks more behind, and get the initiative.
In practice watchers will tend attract AI stacks invading your territory, it slower invaders, and you can counter attack and get the initiative against invaders.
Use lures/scouts to invade enemy territory
When you are invading an enemy territory it’s harder to ensure have the initiative. The problem is you lack of a good scouting of the enemy territory.
You can still use scouting or lures to open options to get the initiative in combats of an invading army. Moreover it helps scout a bit more an unknown enemy territory.
Use scouts pairs
To have more flexibility in scouting you can use two scouts that move close together, this will ensure open more flee options.
But when you are at war, you need constantly take care of your war support because at each flee you lost some war support, and you could lost a war on a flee.
Such approach is still often good at wars first turns when you took care start the war with a lot of war support, and in first phases scouting a bit more enemy territory makes sense.
Use mix of units and powerful stacks. The units are used as scouts and lures, never moving too far from the stacks. And the stacks move but always with the caution to keep enough move points to counter attack or protect a lure attacked.
Your invasion of enemy territory will be slower, but it can allow manage tricky cases of invasions.
When you combine this with heights allowing increase view range, it’s not too slow and much more cautious.
Protect a stack with a unit
Sometime you want a stack holds a precise position but there’s potentially enemy stack that can attack it.
Most often it’s just better to not use stacks to hold a position, and instead consider a dynamic strategy that will favor get the initiative. And to hold a position consider use units.
But you can still try get the initiative with a stack holding a position.
Move one or some units right close to the stack, and between enemy and the stack. When an enemy stack attack, the game pause to wait your decision, then you can choose flee, and use the stack to counter attack and get the initiative.
In practice the AI is better to use this tactic, but you can still use it, and with practice manage it better and learn identify the good use cases.
Attack an AI stack protected by a unit
In this case if you attack with a stack, the AI unit flee and right after the AI stack counter attack, get the initiative and choose the best terrain.
Often you can just move slowly enough with stacks close enough and solve the problem without sacrificing any unit. But it can be a disaster in case the terrain is tricky because the AI will choose the best terrain and it can be a disaster even for a massive amount of stacks.
In such case consider use a stack that will attack the unit but will flee when the AI stack counter attack, and then with stacks more in back counter attack, get the initiative, choose the terrain.
It’s out of topic of this guide to explain how identify cases where such AI counter attack can be a serious problem no matter the size of your army.
I would argue in such configuration, it’s not a random AI choice, and you can expect something not good so better consider bring in one more stack that will flee at AI counter attack.
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