2.The campaign game
2.1 Your main aims
2.2 Buildings and the tech tree
2.3 Armies and units
-Army types
-Unit availability
-Should I save my cash by building lesser units?
-Should I build now or wait for better units?
-What does unit X do?
-Retraining Vs making new units
-What do my cavalry dismount into?
-What is valour?
-What is disciplined and elite?
-Why does morale matter when choosing troops?
2.4 Mercenaries
2.5 Finances and provinces
-Farming, mining and trade
-The payback factor
-Special province bonuses
-Rebellions and loyalty
-What about faction re-emergences?
2.6 Securing your borders
2.7 Diplomacy
2.8 The Pope
-Getting recommunicated
-Avoiding getting excommunicated in the first place
-Wouldn’t it be easier to get rid of the Pope?
-So I can’t conquer the Pope entirely then?
-You can use the Pope to help you!
-Getting on the Pope train…
2.9 Agents
-By province
-By type
2.10 War!
-When should I attack?
-Where should I attack?
-Amphibious attacks
-Castle attacks
-So I’ve attacked, now what?
2.11 Events
-All those handy dates.
2.12 Crusades and Jihads
-How to have a successful crusade
-What do I do about other faction’s crusades?
-Crusader knights

2. The campaign game
So you are ready to start your first campaign, but you want to know what you should aim for? This is the chapter for you! This chapter is for both the main medieval game and the Viking game, the strategies are valid in both unless they rely on something that is clearly not in that campaign, for example inquisitors are not available in the Viking campaign.

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2.1 Your main aims
Your main overriding aim is to win either by conquering 60% or 100% of the map, or by having the most GA points. To achieve this aim you will need to break it down into a series of smaller aims.
1. Secure your kingdom. Defeat any immediate threats and build up border defence armies. (See chapter 2.3)
2.Build a set of troop producing provinces. Most people go with one melee infantry province, one ranged unit province and one cavalry province. It is possible, and desirable, to build two melee infantry provinces to speed construction of armies. (See chapter 2.2)
3.Get a good income. Build farming improvements, mines and trade. (see chapter 2.5)
4. Moving out and expanding. Having achieved the three aims above you are in a position to take the battle to the enemy and start attacking for reasons beyond self defence. (See chapter 2.10)

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2.2 Buildings and the tech tree.
The tech tree is quite easy to follow once you understand how it works. There are several levels for each building (troop production, farming etc). Most buildings require a certain level of castle to produce (the exceptions are farmland, mines, watch towers/border forts. I think that's all of them). You will always have to upgrade the castle one level to build the next building in a family e.g. if you have a spear maker you will need to upgrade the castle to the next level before building the spear makers workshop. The family evolution goes whatever -> whatever workshop -> whatever guild -> master whatever. For buildings that don't need a castle you can just build the next one straightaway. Some buildings are time limited; you can’t build any of the gunsmiths or foundries until you get the message about gunpowder being discovered. One of the ship builders is dependant on the compass but I can't remember which. Generally for the Catholics you want to build each level of a building until the 'feudal' unit becomes available. After that you will need to wait until 1205 before the chivalric units are available so it's not always worth building up to master level straight away. However each master level building gives a valour bonus to it's units so you do need to decide whether you are going to pursue this bonus early by building a chain of buildings that won't give any units for quite a while.

A suggested build order for a Catholic faction starting in early would be:
Province 1 = cavalry. Build a royal estate, armourer's workshop, horse breeder, town watch, spear makers workshop, improved farmland 20% and castle. This will allow you to build the best Feudal cavalry. This is a slow and expensive process, which gives you Feudal Knights at the end, with other good cavalry in between like mounted sergeants. If you are using cavalry heavy armies having two or more provinces capable of building good quality cavalry will really aid you as it speeds troop construction and retraining.

Province 2 = archers. Build a fort, town watch and bowyer. Archers are cheap and easy.

Province 3 = infantry. Build a spear makers workshop, sword smith, keep, and town guard. This will give you feudal sergeants, feudal men at arms, peasants, militia sergeants as well as their inferior counterparts like plain spearmen. Some people split infantry between two provinces either as one for sword/heavy infantry and one for spear/pikes etc or as two identical provinces capable of producing all melee infantry. This is a good idea if you use infantry heavy armies as it allows you to raise troops twice as fast.

Province 4 = agents. Build a castle, brothel, tavern, royal palace, church, chapter house and monastery. This gives you all the agents except grand inquisitors and cardinals who aren't available till 1205 (Grand Inquisitors definitely aren't available till 1205, I'm not so sure about cardinals) If you plan on using a lot of a certain type of agent then you may wish to build another province capable of producing that type so you can pump them put quickly.

Other provinces = economic upgrades (See chapter 2.5)

At this point you could leave each province before building up further or you could keep going towards higher castle levels to get the master valour bonus and to have the chivalric troops available as soon as it's 1205. If money is tight you should stop military upgrading at this point until you get more cash. If you have plenty of florins keep going. You may also want to add an armourer to each province to give armour bonuses. If you have iron in your province the same applies to metal smiths (attack bonus). Churches/mosques and religious buildings add to morale so you can build those too.

Unless you want to be mobbed by spies/ assassins etc build border forts in all your provinces. In troublesome provinces like Scotland, Portugal etc build a keep along with a church and maybe a tavern as these increase happiness and reduce the chance of a revolt.

Economic build up is more complicated but basically the more farming income you get from a province the faster you get your investment back. Upgrade your richer provinces first. Always build mines no matter what type as they are guaranteed income and pay for themselves quickly. Mines are the first priority for quick reliable cash. Trade can be very rewarding but its subject to wars and blockades, which can make it unreliable. It is also slower to set up and quite expensive. There is a lot more about finances in chapter 2.5.

That should get you through the first few turns, after that you should be able to cope. Bear in mind that this is a highly subjective area and some people will disagree with my build order. Also it doesn't do as much for the Orthodox or Muslim factions (they need different buildings to access all their units, however this build order will get you most of them). It's really just a matter of practise, after you spend a while staring at the tech tree and unit info you start to remember it so don't give up.  

The unit build information on the back of the MTW tech tree is quite clear once you know the building upgrade process. It basically works on the principle of new building = new troop which is an upgrade of the previous one. Chivalric units are only available after 1205, gothic after 1321. The ranged units go archers in feudal, crossbows at 1205 and arbalesters at 1321. For the Muslims and Orthodox there are few units limited to different eras so most of their units are available as soon as the building is complete.

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2.3 Armies and units
There are three different types of armies in the campaign, attacking armies, defending armies and garrison armies. You will need to make and use all three if you want to be successful.

1.Attacking armies. These armies are custom built to attack other factions. They generally consist of some strong infantry like men at arms, some strong cavalry like knights, some fast cavalry like Alan mercenary cavalry, a few spear troops and a few ranged troops. A suggested attacking army for a Catholic faction would be 4 men at arms (use the most recent available to you), 4 spears (use sergeants of the most recent type), 3 ranged troops (archers, crossbows or arbalesters depending on the era), 2 heavy cavalry (knights of the most recent type), 1 light cavalry (the faster the better, these guys will be used to run down routing enemy troops) and 2 anti armour troops (militia units until 1205, after then use a unit with pole arms like halberdiers). All of these units should have the best armour and weapon upgrades you can supply from armourers and metal smiths. However if you are going to fight in the desert don't use troops with armour above 5 as the heat will tire them out very quickly. When going on a desert offensive forget the armour upgrades! For non-Catholic factions try to get a balance of missile units, tough cavalry (Kataphraktoi, Ghulams etc), missile cavalry (cavalry archers, Byzantine cavalry etc), fast cavalry (Saharan cavalry etc) and infantry (Saracen infantry, Byzantine infantry etc). If you know you will be fighting horses as a Muslim build camels. As a non-Catholic you will be relying on your speed and manoeuvrability more than on brute strength, so use you cavalry to the max! Attacking armies should try to use the 16 slots available in each army stack so they can scare the enemy with numbers. All attacking armies should be lead by a good general with as many stars as you can get.

2.Defending armies. A defending army is created only to protect your border provinces. Because of this they tend to have a lot of missile troops and spear types. A suggested Catholic defence army would be 4 spears (again use your latest), 6 ranged (mix between archers and crossbows/arbalesters. The archers can fire over the heads of the crossbow types), 2 cavalry (use cavalry that can fight, but not necessarily knights. Mounted sergeants are good here), 2 men at arms (use the latest) and 2 others (these two are optional, you don't need to fill the army. Put any unit you like and feel you need in). Non-Catholic factions can produce a similar army using a lot of spears and foot archers, however they can also use a lot of cavalry and cavalry archers to provide a more mobile defence. Give these armies all the upgrades you can.

3.Garrison armies. These are the simplest and cheapest armies. Basically you need one in each province that is not in danger of attack across a land border, they increase loyalty and prevent revolt. One unit of peasants will do the job; just make sure there are 100 or more men in the unit. Some provinces like Portugal and Scotland are particularly rebellious and may need more than one unit of peasants. NEVER leave a province without at least one unit of 100 men unless you are trying to get it to revolt! These armies don't need upgrades of any kind, as they are never intended to actually fight.

Cheetah has kindly lent me his own style of army, which suits a more cavalry/melee heavy army (very different to my play style so I didn't think of it). He uses one style of army for all his military needs, both attacking and defending. This one is well suited to factions like the Byzantines that rely more on cavalry. Cheetahs all-in-one army is made up of 3-4 ranged units, 6-7 melee units (men at arms, militias etc), 2 ranged cavalry and the rest heavier cavalry. He doesn't use spears unless he expects to meet large quantities of cavalry or camels. He uses the occasional unit of javelins in the ranged group; otherwise they are foot archers or men with crossbow/arbalesters. Try it - you might like it! (But if you don't like it don't complain to me! ;) )

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It is important to note several things about unit availability.
1. Some units become available when the game clock hits a certain date. These are:
-All units with chivalric in the name become available at 1205
-All units with Gothic in the name become available at 1321
-Crossbows, arbalesters, longbows, billmen, Mamluk cavalry, trebuchets, mortars, halberdiers, boyars, steppe horsemen, Janissary archers and Janissary infantry become available at 1205
-Gunpowder units, pikes, Lithuanian cavalry, Demi cannon, serpentine, siege cannon, Demi culverin, culverin, gendarmes, lancers, Janissary heavy infantry, Ottoman Sipahi and Sipahi of the Porte become available at 1321.
-Check the VI manual for the limitations on the new units.
2. You can NEVER build foot knights. Instead you must tell the horse knight to dismount in battle by right clicking on the unit and selecting dismount in the deployment phase BEFORE the battle begins. Some units, like feudal knights, can only dismount in a siege; others can dismount whenever you want.
3. Some units will disappear after a certain date. You can no longer build Varangian Guardsmen or Ghulam bodyguards (as the Turks) after 1321. Check the VI manual for the limitations on the new units.

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Should I save my cash by building lesser units?
In the campaign you should always use the best units available to you unless you really can't afford to. The more expensive units are often several miles better than their cheaper counterparts. However this is not to say that you should use chivalric sergeants for garrison duty instead of peasants, which would be a waste of money, as the garrisons are never intended to fight. Half the fun of the campaign is in using massive armies of elite troops that cost thousands of florins to squash your enemy.

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Should I build now or wait for better troops?
If you are very close (within a couple of turns) to getting a new, superior unit and you are not urgently in need of troops then yes you can wait. If you need troops to guard provinces etc then you shouldn't wait because you will be endangering your security. You should never start a game in the early era and wait for the high era to start before building an army just because chivalric troops are better than feudal ones. Build what you need when you need it. It is very easy to replace lesser troops with their new counterparts, all you have to do is build one unit of the new type, send it to join it's army and then disband the older unit the turn its replacement arrives.

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What does unit X do? What is the difference between unit A and unit B?
Check the Complete Total War Unit Guide for information and tactics for each and every unit in Shogun, Medieval and Vikings.

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Retraining versus making new units
Should you retrain damaged units for build a new unit to merge with them? This depends on your situation. If you are in the middle of a war and need to keep your armies at the front you should build a new unit of each type that needs more men and send them forward to meet up with your army. You can then use these newly trained men to top up damaged units. If you are in a peacetime situation you can recall one army at a time to your production bases to retrain them back up to full strength. Retraining also gives a unit any extra bonuses like improved armour or morale that are above the bonuses they already possess.
This next point is important: A UNIT NEVER LOOSES VALOUR! When you merge or retrain a unit the valour rating may appear to go down. This is because the valour of a unit is an average of all the men in the unit. Thus green troops can lower the overall, however as valour is tracked on an individual basis nothing is actually lost it only looks like it. If you have one particularly high valour individual in a unit and he dies the overall valour of the unit may seem to go down. This is because the man gave a large boost to the average. Again nothing is lost (apart from the dead man) it only looks like it. Check the battle log files (MTW directory, then log file folder. Only recorded if you set log files to ‘on’ in the options menu) if you don’t believe me – valour is tracked on a per man basis and is visible in the log files.

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What do my cavalry units dismount into?
Alan Mercenary Cavalry -> Archers
Steppe Cavalry -> Spearmen
Turcopole -> Archers
Berber Camel -> Desert Archers (yes)
Mamluk Horse Archers -> Desert Archers
Turcoman Horse -> Turcoman Foot
Horse Archers -> Archers
Golden Horde Horse Archers -> Golden Horde Warriors (yes)
Byzantine Cavalry -> Trebizond Archers
Golden Horde Heavy Cavalry -> Golden Horde Warriors (yes)
Gothic Knights -> Gothic Foot Knights (yes)
Saharan Cavalry -> Murabitin Infantry
Mamluk Cavalry -> Saracen Infantry
Armenian Heavy Cavalry -> Feudal Sergeants
Bedouin Camel Warriors -> Muslim (yes)
Hobilars -> Feudal Sergeants
Ghulam Cavalry -> Saracen Infantry
Khwarazmian Cavalry Saracen Infantry
Pronoiai Allagion -> Byzantine Infantry
Kataphraktoi -> Byzantine Infantry
Ottoman Sipahi -> Turcoman Foot
Feudal Knights -> Feudal Foot Knights
Teutonic Sergeants -> Order Foot Soldiers
Knights Hospitaller -> Hospitaller Foot Knights (yes)
Knights Santiago -> Chivalric Foot Knights (yes)
Knights Templar -> Chivalric Foot Knights (yes)
Teutonic Knights -> Chivalric Foot Knights (yes)
Lancers -> Chivalric Foot Knights
Chivalric Knights -> Chivalric Foot Knights (yes)
Gendarmes -> Chivalric Man-at-Arms (yes)
Early Royal Knights ->Feudal Foot Knights
High Royal Knights -> Chivalric Foot Knights (yes)
Late Royal Knights -> Chivalric Foot Knights (yes)
Early Royal Ghulam Knights -> Saracen Infantry
High Royal Ghulam Knights -> Saracen Infantry
Late Royal Ghulam Knights -> Saracen Infantry
Spanish Jinetes -> Feudal Sergeants
Sipahi of the Porte -> Janissary Infantry
Boyar -> Feudal Man-at-Arms
Lithuanian Cavalry -> Archers (yes)
Polish Retainer -> Feudal Sergeants
Mounted Crossbows -> Crossbows
Mounted Sergeants -> Feudal Sergeants
Avar Nobles -> Armoured Spearmen
Byzantine Lancers -> Armoured Spearmen
Druzhina Cavalry -> Feudal Foot Knights (yes)
Faris -> Dismounted Faris
Khazar Royal Cavalry -> Armoured Spearmen
Medium Cavalry -> Round Shield Spearmen
Pictish Cavalry -> Celtic Warriors
Dark Age Royal Knights -> Early Royal Foot Knights
Dark Age Knights -> Early Foot Knights
Steppe Heavy Cavalry -> Armoured Spearmen
Szekely -> Slav Warriors
Viking Raider Cavalry -> Viking Carls (yes)

The units that can dismount in any battle have been marked with a "(yes)." If there is no "(yes)," then the units may only dismount in castle assaults. NB: This list is courtesy of RabTheRab.

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What is valour?
Valour is a measure of how experienced a unit is. Each point of valour is earned in battle by killing non-routing enemies. It adds +1 attack +1 defence +2 morale, you can probably see from this why veterans with high valour are to be feared. Valour can also be gained from the general, for every second star he receives the men in his army get a point of special valour which adds +1 attack +1 defence.

A unit is always constructed at 0 valour, however there are two exceptions to this.
1.The province the unit comes from has a special bonus for that kind of unit (for example Wales gives all longbowmen +1 valour if they are built there). In this case the unit will start with 1 valour.
2.The unit is constructed in a master level building. A master level building gives any unit that comes from it a +1 valour bonus, so they start with 1 valour. This bonus is cumulative with any province bonuses enabling you to build a unit with 2 starting valour. Generally the master bonuses are easy to figure out, if it uses a bow it gets it bonus from the bowyers, swords from sword smiths and so on. There are several units that require many different types of building (e.g. Byzantine cavalry which need horse breeder, bowyers workshop and sword smiths workshop) where it is not obvious which master building gives the bonus. All you can do in cases like this is build both masters.

A side note for custom battles and multiplayer: Always make sure to buy valour for your troops, especially the generals unit. It makes the fight more interesting; it is considered bad form to show up in a multiplayer game with a large army of valour 0.

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What is disciplined and elite?
Disciplined and elite are two special statuses that a unit can have.
1.Disciplined means the unit is less likely to chase off after enemy units when it is in the impetuous morale state. It also means that the unit doesn't care about routing units on its own side unless they are of disciplined or elite status. The death of your general also has a reduced effect on disciplined units morale. This means that routing peasants and the like can no longer panic your army. If a unit does not possess disciplined status by default the only way to add it is to build the military academy in one of your production provinces. This will not add the disciplined tag to your unit but it will increase their discipline slightly. Units like knights still tend to be impetuous even with the discipline upgrade.

2.Elite is a status that only the best troops have. It is similar to disciplined in that it means the unit ignores some routers, in this case anyone who isn't elite themselves. Elite does not make a unit easier to control and it can never bee added to a unit that doesn't already possess it.

Both of these statuses are highly desirable. You should try to use more units that have one of these statuses than units that have no special status to make your army harder to rout in one go.

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Why does morale matter when choosing troops?
Morale is vital to your army. When it gets too low units will begin to flee the field and you will loose unless you can rally them. The higher a units natural morale the harder it is to make them rout. When offered a choice between a unit with high morale and one with low morale you should try to choose the one with higher morale unless it is inferior in other ways (for example chivalric sergeants are better than feudal sergeants despite having lower morale). There is a section about morale on the battlefield in chapter 3.2 so take a look.

You can improve a unit’s morale when you build it if there is a religious building in the province. When you right click on the building it will note if it gives a bonus (if you have the Viking Invasion anyway, if not you are looking for churches, cathedrals, mosques and grand mosques). This is definitely recommended; make sure you have the first religious building in the chain in every unit-producing province.

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2.4 Mercenaries
You should always aim to use fewer mercenaries; in fact you should avoid mercenaries unless you have no choice. Not only are they expensive but also you can't retrain them so they get outdated equipment (bad) and loose vast quantities of men just when they get to a high valour (worse). Mercenaries are good for emergencies where you need troops now, maybe even yesterday. Otherwise just use your own men, they're cheaper and can be retrained so they survive to get really good valour after a few battles.

You can use mercenaries for suicide attacks by raising an army of them and sending them to attack immediately. Kill as many of your enemy’s troops as possible in one turn with this army. If you conquer a province destroy all the buildings in it, don't try to keep it. Then disband the mercenary army. You will have paid very little and done a lot of damage.

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2.5 Finances and provinces
Fortunately economics in Total War are quite simple. Your main income comes from three main sources:
1. Farming Each province produces income based on farming. Some provinces are particularly rich others are very poor. To increase farming income you should build the various farming +xx% upgrades. At the start of a game building farming improvements everywhere is not a good idea. Instead you should build them in provinces that have good farming (say 200 florins) income already. This will get you your money back quicker. When you have a larger income you can then build the +20% improvements in poorer provinces. If a province has around 250 florins natural income (without any upgrades and at normal tax rates) then it is worth upgrading it to +40%. 300 florins natural income is worth upgrading to +60% and 400 florins is worth +80%. These are only guidelines; if you have tonnes of cash you can upgrade poorer provinces more. The tax levels adjust farming income. Generally speaking you should keep to normal taxes wherever possible. This is because higher taxes give your governors vices, which loose you money.

2. Mining If a province has gold, silver, copper or salt you can build the appropriate type of mine. Each resource gives a different income with gold being the richest and salt the poorest. Each mine can be upgraded to a mine complex to increase the income. Mines give fixed income, the amount is says in the information screen (called up by right clicking on the building) is all it ever gives. Mines are not affected by taxation or acumen.

3. Trade This is potently the biggest source of cash in the game. It is also the slowest and most expensive to set up. It is highly unreliable; you can only trade when you are at peace with a faction. Enemy ships can blockade your trade routes severing your income. To trade a province must have at least one trade item. You must then build a port and a trading post in that province. As long as there is a trading post you will get a small trickle of income based on land trade, however to get the real money you must trade over seas. To do this you must create an unbroken line of your ships going from the province with the trade good to an AI province with a port. You cannot trade with yourself or enemies. To really make trade worthwhile you must link to nearly every province on the map and stay at peace. I would not recommend becoming too reliant on trade, as the AI has been known to start a stupid war and bankrupt traders.

You also get the occasional cash gift of 1,000 florins from the Pope if you are Catholic. It is not known how you earn these gifts so don't rely on them.

To maximise your income give each province a governor with a minimum of three acumen. This will increase the provinces income significantly.

At the start of the game you should build any mines you can, followed by upgrading your richest farming provinces. Try to get a little bit of trade as soon as possible but don't rely on it, keep building up your farming.

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The payback factor
How long does it take for an economic upgrade to pay for itself and start bringing in profit? Check this chart to find out. NB: This chart is not my work, I wrote it down from a post on economics over a year ago and I don’t remember who wrote it originally.
Rich provinces are assumed to have 400 florins per turn or more in just farming income.
Average provinces have between 200-400 florins per turn in farming income.
Poor provinces have less than 200 florins per turn in farming income.  

Break-even points.
Income            20%     40%     60%     80%     farming upgrade
600                   5         8          13        21        turns to break even
500                   6         10        15        25
400                   8         13        19         31
300                   10       17        25        42
200                   15       25        38        63
100                   30        50       75        125
Mines = 10 years for all types.
Mine complexes = 15 – 18 years depending on type.

What to build for the shortest payback.
1.Upgrade rich provinces to 20%
2.Build mines.
3.Upgrade rich provinces to 40%
4.Upgrade average provinces to 20%
5.Upgrade rich provinces to 60%
6.Build mine complexes.
7.Upgrade average provinces to 40%
8.Upgrade poor provinces to 20%
9.Upgrade rich provinces to 80%

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Special province bonuses
Some provinces have iron in them. Iron allows you to build the metal smith line, which upgrades the attack of your units. Provinces with iron are precious; there are only nine on the whole medieval map. If you are fortunate enough to own an iron province use it to build troops with upgraded attack.

There are provinces that possess a special bonus for a certain type of troop when it is built there. For example Wales gives +1 valour to all longbowmen built there. These provinces are highly desirable if they give a bonus to a unit you can construct. If you own a province that gives a bonus to a unit you like to use, build it up and take advantage of it!

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Rebellions and loyalty
When a provinces loyalty dips below 100 it has a chance to rebel. This is not a Good Thing unless you are trying to train your generals up on self-created rebellions. To keep loyalty high you should always keep a garrison of at least 100 men in each province. Buildings like churches increase happiness, which in turn increases loyalty so try to build a church (or Mosque) in each province. A governor’s dread rating also affects loyalty. High dread raised loyalty because the peasants are too afraid to rebel, so you may want to consider assigning high dread governors to particularly troublesome provinces. Normally acumen is more important than dread though.

Taxes have the largest impact on loyalty; you should adjust your taxes on a province-by-province basis and check each turn to see if they need adjusting. If you have the Viking Invasion you can safely leave auto tax on to manage your taxes. If you don't have VI don't trust auto tax! In Viking Invasion the minimum loyalty threshold auto tax tries to maintain is 120, in plain medieval it is only 100. This means that your provinces are likely to rebel after a tiny hiccough in your empire, for example a king dieing and being replaced by an heir without a virtue giving a happiness bonus. Always tax to maintain 120 loyalty at the minimum as it gives you a larger margin for error for those occasions where things start to go wrong.

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What about faction re-emergences?
Faction re-emergences are easy to manage when you know how. First the basics:
1)A faction will only re-emerge if it has been completely killed i.e. it has no provinces left and it doesn't have an army left under siege in a castle. You will receive a message each time a faction is eliminated.
2)A faction can re-emerge in any province it has owned, even if the province was held for just one turn. This means that the Egyptians can reappear in Scotland as long as they held Scotland for one or more turns.
3)A re-emergence is another form of rebellion and it can be managed in the same way. Keep your provinces loyal and you will probably never see a re-emergence.

So what does a re-emergence consist of? Generally one or more provinces will be overrun by an army belonging to the faction that just reappeared. The army can be of varying size and quality, if you are lucky you will meet a handful of peasants however you could meet a horde of angry knights so make sure you know what you are up against. You can find out what units a re-emergence has by checking the army token that appears in the turn you get the message telling you that faction X has returned. The actual fighting will begin the turn after this message so take the chance to send in a good army or two so you can fight a defensive battle against the upstarts. When all the factions new armies are dead and any provinces it took are re-conquered the faction returns to the land of the dead, hopefully never to return.

The only way to guarantee no re-emergences is to not kill the faction. Instead you should conquer all their provinces except one. Place good armies in each province that borders on this last stronghold and just ignore the faction. They will not be strong enough to attack you as long as you keep a reasonable border force, so you can keep them like a pet until the end of the game when you can send in the heavies and crush them along with any other nearly dead factions.

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2.6 Securing your borders
All you really need to secure your borders is one defensive army (see chapter 2.3) and a border fort to catch most enemy agents. You should have a border fort in all provinces but they are especially important in the border provinces as most enemy agents enter your empire through them. The forts also allow you to keep an eye on the neighbouring provinces. You should probably build a castle in your border provinces in case your army is defeated. The army would withdraw to the castle giving you a second chance to defeat the attacker.

Where you have your borders is very important. You should always try to keep as small a border as you can. Take advantage of the natural bottlenecks on the map to keep borders down to one or two provinces. The main body of Europe (France, Germany, the Steppes etc) are the only part of the map where this is not possible. In this part of the map you should aim to move forward in a manner that keeps the number of border provinces to the absolute minimum i.e. if you hold Ile de France, Flanders, Anjou and Toulouse don't conquer Champagne because you will add one more province to your border. Instead you should try to conquer Burgundy, as this will keep your border to four provinces. You will be able to advance your defending army from Anjou to Burgundy so you won't need to build any new defending armies.

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2.7 Diplomacy
Diplomacy in Total War is very simple. There are three states of relations allied, neutral and at war. You can use emissaries, Catholic bishops and princesses to propose various diplomatic things like peace, alliances and marriages. Only the emissary can offer all diplomatic proposals. The AI often won't accept your offers of cease fires, marriages or alliances. I don't know why, they turn down offers made by a faction lead by a king with high influence (the higher a kings influence, the more likely factions are to accept your proposals) for no obvious reason. Try to accept any offers of alliance, they are useful when you start a war. Generally the winner of the first battle in a war will keep their allies. The loser will find their allies deserting them. If the AI offers you a princess in marriage you should accept without delay. Foreign princesses allow your heirs to marry sooner and start an alliance, killing two birds with one stone.

Er, basically that's all you need to know about diplomacy - accept any offers of treaties and princesses, try not be the looser in the first battle of a war and don't waste too much time or effort offering the AI treaties and princesses as they rarely accept.

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2.8 The Pope
If you want to play a Muslim or Orthodox faction then you needn't worry about the Pope. If you are Catholic however the Pope will be a major thorn in your side. I once heard the Pope compared to taking your mother on a date with you, this is truer than you might think. The Pope will step in and try to squash any fun wars you've got going against Catholics. He will send you threatening messages with an irritating sound effect. He will backstab and conquer his way to the top. Your job, should you choose to accept it, it to learn how to avoid and manipulate the Pope.

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This is the main problem with the Pope. If you attack a Catholic faction he will (often) send you a cease and desist letter giving you two years to stop hostilities and a demand for ten years of peace between you and the Catholics you just attacked. If you don't do as he says you will get excommunicated. What does this mean for you? Firstly the crucifix on your king and generals info sheet will turn into a broken cross. Your king will loose some influence and the loyalty of both your generals and your provinces will drop. You are also a fair target for a crusade. Being excommunicated is not good, but it is survivable.

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Getting recomunicated
There are only two ways to do this.
1. Let your king die (or kill him). When your king dies your faction is recomunicated. Drastic but helpful.
2. Wait for the Pope to die. Popes often take a while to die of disease so why not give them a helping hand? Send swarms of assassins over to kill the Pope until you succeed. You could also try burning him with a Grand Inquisitor, but this is harder, after all he is the Pope!

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Avoiding getting excommunicated in the first place
This is actually quite simple. Just attack and crush your target Catholics in two turns and the Pope won't care. Attack as many of their provinces as you can in one turn and then tidy up any sieges in the second one. Don't launch any more attacks for ten years and bingo! The Pope doesn't whine. If the specified faction attacks you shouldn't get excommunicated unless you launch a counter attack into one of their provinces.

Alternatively you could try attacking another faction before your true target, the Pope can only track one warning at a time. For example, you want to attack the Spanish. Launch a small attack on the Holy Roman Empire (Germans) and receive your warning. Now withdraw and don't attack the Germans again for ten years. Because the Pope has warned you not to attack the Germans you can clobber the Spanish in peace.

The rules of excommunication, according to CA developer eat cold steel:
"The rules for excommunication is quite simple. If a faction with twice the number of regions attacks, he gets a warning. Any aggressive action before the warning runs out leads to excommunication. Sally out of a besieged castle is not aggressive (since the patch) but retaking lost a region does count as aggressive. Attacking the papist is automatic excommunication. Blocking a crusade in conquest mode is automatic excommunication, in glorious goals mode it depends on if the crusade's object is a goal or not.

Being friendly with the pope has no effect on the rules. But he will send you cash if he has any spare. "

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Wouldn't it be easier to just get rid of the Pope?
Well on the face of it, yes it would be easier to conquer all the Popes’ provinces. Unfortunately there are several problems:
1. You cannot crusade without the Pope. If you don't like to crusade this is not a problem. However crusading adds flavour to the game and most Catholic factions have crusading goals in their Glorious Achievements game.
2. You can't keep a bad Pope down. The Pope will keep re-emerge in his old provinces every few years. He will bring with him massive armies of high tech units. He will reappear every ten or so years, each time with a bigger army. In the unlikely event you survive the first reappearance the second will probably get you, if you survive the second, then the third will really do you in. It is not economic to keep two or more defensive armies in each of his old provinces, especially when you have to keep replacing heavy losses.

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So I can't conquer the Pope entirely then?
Well, there is a slight loophole that makes keeping the Pope down easier. When you conquer all his provinces raze the buildings, put the taxes to high and pull all your armies out. The provinces should revolt. When the Pope reappears he will have to fight the rebel army first, leaving him weaker for your counter attack. However doing this robs you of the position of defender making the battle harder. You also have to keep micromanaging the provinces.

Inigo Monttoya has this to add:
There is one more way to avoid excommunication when you go to war against a Catholic faction. I use it quite frequently to spank the French. This method gives you three years to wage war, but you HAVE to accomplish the final goal or you're screwed (spiritually speaking).

Plan your war to make sure that you send armies against the King and all Princes.

Attack in Year 1 (Get warned) - no prisoners! (don't ransom back any members of the royal line)

Year 2 - storm castles, if necessary. You can wait them out, IF they will only last one more year. Prepare as much of your army as possible to go up against any remaining members of the royal line.

Year 3 - Take out the royal line - no mercy. If you end the royal line, the kingdom degenerates to rebel status... AND THE POPE DOESN'T CARE!!

The cool thing now is that you are going up against rebel armies - or you can bribe them, and they're much cheaper than if they were a national military.

Plus, combining this with the "10-year/1-warning" effect, you can wage two big wars at the same time (I usually wipe out France and Aragon, or hit the Spanish)

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You can use the Pope to help you!
This is sneaky but it works quite well. The excommunication rules apply to the other factions inexactly the same way as they do to you. Take advantage of it! If you want to attack a Catholic country try to lure them into attacking first, they will get the warning and excommunication!  o_loompah gives this example:
"Regarding the Pope, if the Italians/ Sicilians get too big for their boots - usually in the early game, you could also try to leave just enough units to prevent rebellion (say with a dreadful governor) but still weak enough to tempt the Italians/ Sicilians to invade. Pope reappears and excoms them leaving you able to crusade against the weakened Italians without penalty."

So there you go, just leave a weak border force and wait for the Pope to wade in, after that it's open season. To top it of you may even get some cash from the Pope for being such a good Christian!

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Getting on the Pope train…
Swordsmaster has the following tip to simultaneously keep the Pope out of things and train your armies:
“Instead of feeding revolts to train my generals, I usually use a 3star general and make him fight the pope. That allows me to avoid excommunication (assuming I win), to raid Rome (which is quite worth it), train my general against someone more respectable, and retreat in a few turns, and also gain some influence...but the latter is just a side effect...”

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2.9 Agents
Most of what you need to know about agents is in the manual, so go read it. This section is just a collection of hints for specific agents.

Try to keep one spy, one bishop/alim and one assassin in each and every province you own. This will keep loyalty and your religion high reducing the chance of revolt. This will also aid your border forts to catch enemy agents before they do some damage. If you have conquered a province of a different religion to yours you should place several holy men in the province to raise your religious percentage. Never leave inquisitors in your own provinces; they will begin burning the population reducing zeal and happiness.

Send assassins after targets in packs. They often mess up and fail, especially when you are targeting a high-ranking general/king/Pope. If nine try with eight die and the last one succeeding you have a success. If one goes and fails you have nothing.

Don't forget spies can try your own generals for treason. This is a handy alternative to assassinating generals with low loyalty or bad vices. Spies can also open castle gates; the chances of success are very low however.

Inquisitors and Grand Inquisitors
Grand Inquisitors are only available after 1205. Both types of inquisitor act like assassins and they have one major advantage - if they fail they don't die. Use these guys instead of assassins if you can. Catholic only.

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2.10 War!
In the end this is that the game is all about - killing people!

When should I attack?
At the start of the game some factions benefit from an early strike against their neighbours. The English should try to kill the French as quickly as possible to secure their lands and gain a better income. The Egyptians need to kill the Turks to reduce their borders. There are other examples but these two will do well enough. Apart from early strikes to safeguard your faction you should wait until all your borders are well protected and you have built up a set of provinces to produce high quality troops (for example the feudal series in early). When you reach this point you can build some attacking armies, usually you don't need more than three. Put each one in the command of a good general. Now you are ready to think about attacking. Before you launch an attack however you must answer these questions:
1. What are my objectives? What are you trying to do? Which provinces do you want to capture? Which faction are you attacking? Do you want to destroy or weaken your target? Do you want to shorten your border?
2. What is my long term aim? Are you raiding? Are you conquering? Are you conquering you way towards a certain province or faction?
3. Why am I attacking? Do you want money? Iron? A province specific unit or valour bonus? Are you just trying to kill off a faction? Are you attacking simply because you are bored?
4.Can I keep this province? Can you guard this province permanently or is this just a raid? Will taking this province weaken your overall defences?
5. What can I do with this province? Are you going to build it up to produce troops? Are you going to make money from it?
6. Will my attack succeed? Do you have enough troops for this battle? Do I have enough troops to replace losses? Will you be able to handle a counter attack? Do you have the correct troops for the battleground (e.g. lightly armoured troops for the deserts)?

When you can answer all of these questions positively you are ready to attack.

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Where should I attack?
You should aim for provinces that give you something, don't attack somewhere just because it is there. Here are some examples of good targets:
1. Provinces that will narrow your border down allowing you to reduce defensive armies.
2. Provinces that are exceptionally rich.
3. Provinces with a good resource like iron, gold etc
4. Provinces that pose a threat to you, for example a province capable of producing high quality troops or one that intrudes into your empire.

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Amphibious assault
Everything you need to know about amphibious assault is in the manual, page 34 in the UK edition. Go and read it.

Castle attacks
Assaulting a castle is something you will need to do at some point. You can either starve the enemy into submission by keeping an army in the province until you receive a message telling you the castle has fallen (right click on the castle to find out how many years you will be waiting), or attack right away with your army in an attempt to resolve the siege much faster. Both approaches have different advantages and needs.

Sitting and waiting: aka besieging.
This doesn’t really require a very good army; you can leave several units of peasants sat outside the castle waiting for the enemy to starve. This is because unless the enemy attempt to sally out of the castle or enemy reinforcements arrive to try and break the siege no fighting is conducted. Instead all losses from both sides come from starvation, disease, other harmless things peasants scan take just as well as knights – better as peasants are far cheaper! This approach is often slow, taking years to free up the castle but it can be much cheaper in terms of lives. It is not always possible to starve the enemy out; very small forces (say 5 men) inside a castle cannot be starved. In this case you have only one choice: assault.

Assaulting a castle is quite simple, all you need to do is drag and drop your chosen army onto the castle and end the turn. You will then be offered the choice to command the assault personally or auto-resolve it, if you take command you will proceed to the siege battle map and fight it out the same as any other battle...well with the exception of the large castle! Before assaulting any castle you should make sure you have some siege engines in your army, wooden castles can have the walls knocked down by men whereas stone walls must be demolished by siege engines. Regardless of the castle type it is always preferable to have some siege engines to breach the walls as this reduces casualties – the defenders are hardly going to sit there while your army knocks on the gates and walls! Even the most basic castle has some inbuilt archers who will fire as long as your men are in range. If you are absolutely desperate to attack a stone castle without siege engines note that while the walls are impervious to your men’s weapons the gates are not, so target any gatehouses. If you have the VI add-on pack gatehouses will pour boiling oil on anyone attacking the gates, sizzling.

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So I've attacked, now what?
Now you must tidy up the loose ends. Finish your war inside of two years if it's against another Catholic. If you or your target are not Catholic than you can take as long as you want. However it is not a very good idea to leave a war dragging on for a long time, so try to end it quickly. After the fighting is finished you should build the basics in each new province, give them a governor and build them up according to your plan.

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2.11 Events
The early period starts in 1088
The high period starts in 1205
The late period starts in 1321
The Mongols invade in 1230
The game finishes at 1453 (1066 for the Viking campaign)
The compass is invented in 1170
Gunpowder is discovered in 1260

NB: When the compass is discovered you must also wait until 1205 before you can build a shipwrights guild. You also need a cannon foundry before you can build the shipwrights guild, the reason for this is unknown, as it is not listed on the tech tree or in the game.

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1.12 Crusades and Jihads
A crusade requires the Pope to still be alive, so if you have conquered him you will not be able to crusade. If anything happens to the chapter house that build the crusade (i.e. it gets destroyed) the crusade will cease to exist along with all the troops in it. Every turn the crusade is active it can gain and loose troops. If it is in a province with high zeal it will recruit troops from the local armies. If it is in a province with low zeal men will desert.

A failed crusade will cost the king who sent it influence because he just made a prat out of himself on the world stage. This can cause a hit to loyalty across the kingdom. Crusades are expensive so you will have lost a pile of cash for no gain if it fails.

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How to have a successful crusade
1. Build up a large quantity of good troops, no mercenaries, peasants or rubbish like that, just good solid feudal or better troops. Avoid armour upgrades and any unit with more than 5 in armour, as they will be cooked under the desert sun.
2. Build a chain of ships from a province of yours with a port to the destination. This is important as it allows you to send the crusade to its target in one turn preventing desertion and sucking up of your troops.
3.Build your crusade marker, preferably in a coastal province with a port connected to the chain of ships.
4.Target your crusade. Immediately put all those troops you trained in the crusade. For heavens sake, DON'T put your king in it! That would cause all kinds of problems that you don't want to encounter, trust me! Also don't put your heir to the throne in. Now move it to its target, which it will reach in one turn because of the ships.
5. Kill the infidel!
It's a long build up because it needs to be. A failed crusade loses you plenty and gains you nothing. Remember crusades can hold at least 32 units so don't be afraid to build two armies worth of troops.

Jihads are basically the same except they build quicker and don't rely on the existence of the Pope. They can also only be targeted at a province that was previously owned by a Muslim faction, even if it was only for one turn.

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What can I do about other factions crusades?
You will be asked if you want to allow the crusade safe passage. If you agree the crusade will ramble through your empire sucking up your troops (or cash in the case of an Orthodox or Muslim faction). If you refuse the crusade will attack. Sometimes the crusade will just sit on your borders not daring to attack if you have a good enough defensive army, in this case it will slowly fade away as men desert. Generally as long as you have a good defensive army you can refuse crusades without too many problems. Be aware that fighting a crusade acts as a declaration of war on its home faction. To lower the number of your units joining a crusade if you let it into your empire you should lower zeal in all your provinces. To do this place an inquisitor in your province and leave him to burn your population (he will do this automatically, zeal will increase at first but as soon as you get the message about the inquisition spiralling out of control zeal will drop rapidly).

If you are the target faction your choice is much more simple, you can kill the crusade or let it kill you!

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Crusader knights
Crusader type knights are only available in crusades - you cannot build them like the other units. Knights Templar, of Santiago, Hospitaller, Teutonic, Order foot Teutonic sergeants are crusade specific units. To get these units build a crusade and set its target province. Units will appear in your crusade and there is a chance some of those units will be amongst them. Each Catholic faction has a set of knights that are common to it, for example the Spanish get knights of Santiago. When the crusade is over and you are victorious you will be able to keep the crusade specific units and use them as any other unit with a single exception - you cannot retrain them. This means they cannot get upgrades or replace dead men, the only way to fix up your damaged unit is to merge it with another crusader unit of the same type.

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