The Portuguese are deadly efficient for a European faction, and I say that because I believe Europeans to be much slower than Native or Asian civs. They are helped by several valuable home city cards, and having four town centers by late in the game. Their military is in its artillery and infantry, at least, as far as I’m concerned. I don’t use any cavalry units at all and don’t even build them if the native settlements offer them. I keep it simple, and with a certain ratio of melee and ranged in my armies, and it never fails. Tonight was no exception.
By the time I started research on age 2, the score was my 41 to AI’s 21 which makes it about as high a score during that span than I ever had before. I have started being way more fluid with my villagers. I get them moving around the map and switching resources all the time. If I’m at age, I can grab the majority of my food villagers and put them on wood, because in the next age I will need wood in order to erect the new buildings I have access to, as well as houses. I have started micro managing my villagers in order to have more control of my growth as a colony early on.
But the computer was quick to attack, and the first cluster came from the north around the perimeter of the plateau. I had amassed some musketeers near the native trading posts in the center, and they had to scramble over there. I tried ringing the town bell, but I still lost some villagers on the way in. After that incursion was halted, I sent all my units to the north, thinking the AI had chosen the shortest distance between our bases and would use that way again. I set my command post units to the center despite that though. The beautiful thing about the Portuguese in the Improvement Mod is the way they accrue fame. A town center at every age means by age 2 the game trickle has doubled and then tripled by age 3. I was able to buy the level 3 armies from the command post, which were comprised of 12 cassadors and two culverin. I hit that one at least three times before I made my first push.
I rallied another cluster of units to the south, for fear of simply leaving an avenue of approach into my base undefended. So I put maybe 25 units down there. And I had crossbowmen and cassadors to the north, and tiger claws from the Bhakti native settlements in the center. The tiger claws were largely ineffective and the longbowmen ate them for lunch. But once I established a perimeter defense I was set. I grabbed two trading posts and both native settlements. I had control of more than 50% of the map, and had driven off all attempts by the AI to gather resources in the center. They were smart and did build a fort up there on the plateau but I turned my three armies loose on it and it was razed to the ground. I just parked the remaining units in the center and rebuilt units on the northern and southern fronts as well. But that 65% takeover of the map happened towards the end. My ranged infantry were being kited back into the enemy base one by one, so I just swarmed in. I had five or six culverin which works wonders on opposing artillery and villagers. My army cleared out the standing units in a hurry. It was the strangle hold. They couldn’t collect any resources because I was killing all villagers in sight, and razing all the town centers they had constructed. Surrender came earlier than expected.
FINAL SCORE (35:05 gametime)
Egregious (Portuguese) = 696
AI Hard (French) = 201
Units: 287 (69 Cassadors)
Units Killed: 203
Units Lost: 169
Buildings Razed: 21
Buildings Lost: 1
**UPDATE 12/29/14 8:15 am**
I have been thinking back on this game. I’ve been building armies around cassadors, but in reality musketeers have a better ranged attack at 41 when upgraded. Cassadors from the same age and upgrades bought only do 30 ranged damage. Obviously mercenaries are really nice, and can have just amazing DPS outputs. The mercenaries (I believe) are map driven, not standard per faction. I like having the flexibility of summoning new mercenary units from the command post as well as the fame armies. It makes for a diverse military front, which is a cornerstone of establishing map dominance. You’re never going to hold much land with all the same units. It’s a well known fact. When the AI or human opponent discovers what unit you’ve built, it will counter and destroy you. Ranged infantry and melee infantry can’t stand long in front of artillery. Cavalry have a hard time with other cavalry and melee infantry. The list of counters goes on.
Point being: I have noticed that for the sake of diversity and power I’ve been employing the help of more and more mercenaries. They do disproportionate amounts of damage, and with the Portuguese getting several upgrades to their ranged infantry attack, those mercenaries only get better with time. Highlanders and fusiliers are among two of my favorites, because the ranged damage they inflict is off the charts. Highlanders a bit weaker, but still better than a cassador. But subsequently, the mercenaries are hard to get in blocks because of the high coin price for every unit. Sometimes I plan for this and get 30 villagers on plantations by mid game. But this can be interrupted. Factories help when you get them producing coin, but that is often towards the end anyway and the game is usually over.
Mercenaries aren’t just a novelty. They are integral to the DPS yield of your fighting front. Standing on their own they will be wiped out, but as part of a much larger force, they add essential damage to the equation and make your army solid and potent. There are so many new mercenaries introduced by the mod as well. It seems foolish to pass them by like I may have in previous iterations of this game. I all but ignored them in the unmodded game. Seriously.