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Rise of Nations Heaven » Forums » RoN Strategy for Beginners » A Discourse on the Science of Battle in Rise of Nations
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Topic Subject:A Discourse on the Science of Battle in Rise of Nations
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EoB Heraclius
Member
posted 09-21-09 05:21 PM EDT (US)         
A Discourse on the Science of Battle in Rise of Nations

Greetings everyone at Rise of Nations Heaven, my username is Heraclius, as you can no doubt tell. Today you will be reading an article prepared by myself on the Science of Battle. Before I begin, I wish you to understand several points. First and Foremost, I am by no means an expert at this game, although I'll be doing my best to sound like one. Secondly, the methods described in this discourse are not the only way to do things, however they have been effective in my experience. With that said, let us get started.

Flanking in Rise of Nations:
Ah Flanking, the commander's greatest asset. Every army has its flanks, and when one of these flanks becomes exposed, a good commander will notice and hit that flank hard. When I fight battles I generally like to keep some Heavy Cavalry in reserve if at all possible, in the event of a flank becoming exposed. Face down against my Heavy and Gunpowder infantry on the front, and Heavy cavalry on the sides or rear not only does damage to the enemy forces, but also the confidence of their commander. Remember, battle is as much a battle of arms as of wits. Getting inside your opponents head is an easy way to achieve victory. I'll touch on that more later.

Back to the topic at hand then, in Rise of Nations, Flanking not only does extra damage, but negates entrenched positions. It also will make artillery and supply wagons in the rear easy targets. I generally play the Greeks, so my Heavy Cavalry are well suited to the task of flanking. However, in most cases Light Cavalry's speed advantage can also be decisive.

Hit and Run:
Hit and Run is the preferred tactic of the Russians in my opinion. The idea of using Light Cavalry to sneak around the enemy army and hit their supply units and artillery is a good one, that can often cripple the enemies ability to seize your cities. While an opponent might have a far superior army, without artillery it will take far longer for it to take/destroy cities and buildings. Not to mention with the supply wagons dead they will take attrition damage, making them easier to kill. The same tactic can work on the attack, take out the enemy's rear positions, forcing them to reinforce them while you hit from the front. Range Cavalry also make amazing units for the task of Hit and Run, as they can fire while moving and are pretty fast.

Choose the Location of Battle:
A very important factor in battles in Rise of Nations is the terrain. Rivers and High Ground play factors, as well as natural barriers such as Forests, Mountains, and Oceans. With all these factors at play, fighting where you want to can make victory against a normally superior force possible. The difficulty is getting your opponent to attack these locations. I have let my opponent see my troops getting into position willing to this end, and it sometimes works. Other ways include forcing the battle by creating a situation in which the opponent needs to pass through the area in question. This tip goes hand in hand with the next one.

Using Terrain to Your Advantage:
Rise of Nations uses a rather complex battle system in which the smallest advantages can tip the battle in your favor. A skilled commander will recognize these advantages and exploit them. The most often overlooked of these advantages is the terrain. Rivers slow down enemies and make them take extra damage. Hills increase the range of Forts, Towers, and possibly units(Untested). Forests and Mountains can funnel the enemy into narrow passages and ambushes. These same factors can also be played against you however, so when on the attack avoid situations in which the terrain is unfavorable whenever possible. Always be aware of the lay of the land, it could well win you the battle!

Diversion:
An extremely useful trick. Your opponent cannot stop your army if his army is on the other side of the map! Diversions can be created using small units of troops, or decoys. The trick is to attack a valuable location with your decoy force, tricking your enemy into moving his troops to the area. Then, you attack your real target in force while his army is busy. Just be careful, if your intent is known to the enemy your main force may well be walking into a trap!

Ambush:
Ambushes are not used as often as they could be, especially considering the General has an ability tailored to it. If you know where the enemy is going, and how they plan to get there, having your army lie in wait for them under the General's ambush ability can net you an easy victory. Not to mention it will mess with your opponents head when a large force suddenly appears out of nowhere. Just make sure to keep an eye out for a counter-ambush!

Psychological Warfare:
This has been touched on at various other points in this article already. Your opponent is a human being and, as such, is prone to making mistakes. If you can make your opponent feel uncomfortable about his position, by making yourself feel larger than you actually are, he will be even more likely to mess up. If you confound him at every turn, he will become frustrated. Just try to keep your own cool, you have the same weaknesses as your opponent!

Strategic Use of Airpower:
Control the skies! I cannot stress this enough, as soon as you hit Industrial, gain air supremacy if at all possible. Of course, don't sacrifice your ground forces to do so! Constantly harassing your opponents army with fighters is an effective tactic. Just make sure to target their AA units first, lest your fighters come crashing down.
During battles, Fighter support can be a decisive factor, since they cannot be hit by a majority of your opponents ground forces, and can strafe tanks and artillery to due severe damage to the ability to fight. If you plan on having a mostly Infantry Force, make sure you have the airpower to back it up. Also, use your fighters to take down enemy fighters to spare your troops some heartache.

Entrenchments:
Entrenchments are amazing, I'll leave it at that. They absorb 33% of frontal and splash damage, at the cost of movement. Some entrenched Machine Guns and Heavy Infantry backed up by some AA and the CEO can make a nearly impenetrable defense. However it works well even with early infantry like Musketeers. That defense bonus can be a huge advantage. However keep a close eye on your flanks. A flank attack will negate the bonuses Entrenchments give. The best possible defense is the one that forces your opponent to cross a River and travel uphill to get to your entrenched forces.

Optimal Movement to Avoid Arrows:
Arrows miss on occasion, especially when fired at moving targets. To help avoid arrows, when you are forced to advance towards, or run away from, archers or towers use shift clicks to queue up movement commands in a zigzag pattern. This will cause many arrows to miss your troops and allow you to get to or away from the archers without taking too much extra damage.
------------------


Naval Combat:
Before we start on this, understand that I have VERY little experience with naval combat.

Ancient to Enlightenment Ages:

Light Ship vs. Heavy Ship:
A lot of people I have played make the mistake of spamming one kind of ship. This is dangerous. Only using Heavy Ships makes you vulnerable to Fire Ships, and only spamming Light Ships makes you vulnerable to heavy ships. Just like on land, maintaining a balanced force of 2 or 3 ships is ideal. The best combination are Light and Heavy, or Light and Fire. Fire and Heavy leaves you vulnerable to other fire ships.

Naval Engagements:
Always stay on alert for fire ships in naval battles, they are lethal. As soon as you seen one, immediately double click on a light ship, and have them focus fire it. If several attack either bring them down one at a time, or spread the fire out over them all. Remember that in mass engagements Light Ships are only good for taking out fire ships, keep them out of range of the enemy Heavy Ships. Use your own Heavy Ships to target the enemy Heavy Ships and Light Ships. Flanks work well as your opponent will likely not expect them on the open sea, just send some ships around their fleet (out of LOS of course) and come around from behind of the side. Flanks work best with Fire Ships assuming you can keep them clear of enemy Light Ships.


Industrial to Information Age
The introduction of Fighters and Submarines in the Industrial, and later Aircraft Carriers and Helicopters in the Modern Age tips the balance of sea power dramatically.

Heavy Ships no longer dominate as Light Ships are even more of a necessity. Not only do they detect and destroy Submarines, but they can take down Aircraft.

On that note, the Carrier becomes the prominent naval unit. Your navy should be split into "carrier groups" each with an Aircraft Carrier and several escort vessels included some Cruisers to deal with submarine attackers. Aircraft Carriers are a huge investment, you would do well to protect them.

In Closure
I will be adding more to this discourse as I have time to write. I do hope that the articles currently provided have proved useful and that I have not wasted your time. I have found that while much of the information put forward is common knowledge, it is rarely, if ever, used.

[This message has been edited by EoB Heraclius (edited 09-28-2009 @ 07:08 PM).]

AuthorReplies:
The0996395
Member
posted 09-21-09 08:51 PM EDT (US)     1 / 46       
My thanks for this article! I will defininitely be coming back to check for any updates you may have. This thread was well written and very helpful.

You might want a section on naval power, as well.
EoB Heraclius
Member
posted 09-22-09 03:06 PM EDT (US)     2 / 46       
Thank you for the kind words!

I may put forward an article or two about Naval Power, however I am rather inexperienced in that aspect of play.

Oh, and I recived some exact numbers concerning flanking:

Attacking from behind deals 50% extra damage... and attacking from the flank deals 100% extra! That is quite a large bonus, much larger than I had thought at first!
The0996395
Member
posted 09-22-09 03:47 PM EDT (US)     3 / 46       
You know, I'd call it the mathematics of battle myself.


Anyways, damage doubled if attacking the side? That's amazing! If you could get a single volley from archers to slam into the side of the enemy lines, it would be devastating.

And of course, if you surround your enemy, then they have more targets to deal with and you have less.

Flanking has always decided battles in history.
EoB Heraclius
Member
posted 09-22-09 03:58 PM EDT (US)     4 / 46       
Indeed, and it is the most underused facet in this game. This has an advantage though, if it isn't used often, people won't fully understand the massive bonus it is until their armies are laying dead in the field and your men are marching on their capitol!
The0996395
Member
posted 09-22-09 05:07 PM EDT (US)     5 / 46       
The problem is, even though I understand these strategies, I can't beat a moderate level AI player. Pitiful, I know.
sargonthegreat
Member
posted 09-22-09 05:43 PM EDT (US)     6 / 46       
Very good article! This is helpful for any RoN player, beginner or expert.
EoB Heraclius
Member
posted 09-22-09 06:09 PM EDT (US)     7 / 46       
Thank you, I'll work on adding another part to it later today, actually I'll begin working on it right now! Any special requests?
The0996395
Member
posted 09-22-09 06:15 PM EDT (US)     8 / 46       
Just Naval power.

A good naval flank, fronted by fireships, can completely decimate an enemy naval fleet.
EoB Heraclius
Member
posted 09-22-09 07:07 PM EDT (US)     9 / 46       
Ok here is what I have so far. This will likely turn into an entirely different writing of its own as its going so far:

Naval Combat:
Before we start on this, understand that I have VERY little experience with naval combat.

Gunpowder and Enlightenment Ages:

Light Ship vs. Heavy Ship:

A lot of people I have played make the mistake of spamming one kind of ship. This is dangerous. Only using Heavy Ships makes you vulnerable to Fire Ships, and only spamming Light Ships makes you vulnerable to heavy ships. Just like on land, maintaining a balanced force of 2 or 3 ships is ideal. The best combinations are Light and Heavy, or Light and Fire. Fire and Heavy leaves you vulnerable to other fire ships.

Light Ship vs. Heavy Ship 1on1:
In most cases when a Light and Heavy ship meet, the Heavy Ship wins. This does not need to be the case however. With some skilled micromanagement, the Light Ship can easily defeat the Heavy Ship. The trick is to understand that Light ships can fire on the move, and are much faster than the Heavy Ship. As such, if you swing around and fire a volley at the front or rear of the Heavy Ship(the guns are on the sides) you can sail out of range before its guns can be brought to bear. Just repeat over and over for the victory.

Naval Engagements:
Always stay on alert for fire ships in naval battles, they are lethal. As soon as you seen one, immediately double click on a light ship, and have them focus fire it. If several attack either bring them down one at a time, or spread the fire out over them all. Remember that in mass engagements Light Ships are only good for taking out fire ships, keep them out of range of the enemy Heavy Ships. Use your own Heavy Ships to target the enemy Heavy Ships and Light Ships. Flanks work well as your opponent will likely not expect them on the open sea, just send some ships around their fleet (out of LOS of course) and come around from behind of the side. Flanks work best with Fire Ships assuming you can keep them clear of enemy Light Ships.
sargonthegreat
Member
posted 09-22-09 07:38 PM EDT (US)     10 / 46       
Another great article!

I think an article on defense might be interesting, and how to fortify your city with troops and buildings.
The0996395
Member
posted 09-22-09 07:41 PM EDT (US)     11 / 46       
Especially early rush defense.

Perhaps something with archers, not many realize that they bring down heavy troops so well, and they put Heavy Cavalry on defense, which are torn down by hoplites and phalanxes.
sargonthegreat
Member
posted 09-22-09 07:50 PM EDT (US)     12 / 46       
Do you have an AIM account or email that I could contact you with? I would be interested to hear from not only you, but also EoB Heraclius for input on my mod.
The0996395
Member
posted 09-22-09 08:01 PM EDT (US)     13 / 46       
How about Skype?
sargonthegreat
Member
posted 09-22-09 08:24 PM EDT (US)     14 / 46       
I don't have Skype, but I could see if I could get it.

In the meantime, you can email me at yankeefreak127@aim.com.

If you have an email that I can contact you with, that would be great.
EoB Heraclius
Member
posted 09-22-09 08:43 PM EDT (US)     15 / 46       
Thanks for the kind words again. My email is djrumbaugh@embarqmail.com, I don't really use IM programs though.
sargonthegreat
Member
posted 09-22-09 08:45 PM EDT (US)     16 / 46       
That's fine.

Also, while you may know this, in order to see all posts ever made on a board, scroll down to the bottom and where there is a box that shows the number of days, put "all".
The0996395
Member
posted 09-22-09 08:52 PM EDT (US)     17 / 46       
I can only do Skype, so please get it.
sargonthegreat
Member
posted 09-22-09 09:26 PM EDT (US)     18 / 46       
I will get skype, but could you see if you could get an email? That would also be extremely helpful.
The0996395
Member
posted 09-22-09 09:56 PM EDT (US)     19 / 46       
I do have email, but it's private and personal.
EoB Heraclius
Member
posted 09-22-09 10:02 PM EDT (US)     20 / 46       
Would you guys mind taking this discussion off of my thread please? I'd rather people didn't need to sift through posts to find relevant information.

Thanks.
sargonthegreat
Member
posted 09-22-09 10:04 PM EDT (US)     21 / 46       
From now on, any discussion that relates to contacts needs to go on the "RoN Manual Progress" Thread.
Darthatari
Member
posted 09-23-09 09:37 PM EDT (US)     22 / 46       
Ok, NAVAL SUPREMACY IN THE MODERN AND INFORMATIONS AGE.

You might already have a fleet to upgrade once you get to these last two ages, but the MOST MAJOR factor in winning a battle is carriers. Just like in real history, the battleship's supremacy is greatly reduced. Just 3 fighter/bombers can take out a battleship in less than 8 seconds (I think). Even cruisers with their AA are still week to one squadron. If your the only person with 4-6 carriers on the map, your in good condition. Note that this is not only good for offence, but defence. Your fighter/bombers can easily take out enemy trasports and heavy bombers trying to reack havoc on your mainland. Also remember to use your carrier task forces to take out the openents. And remember the cruiser is not the only anti sub defence. Your fighter/bombers can actually be more powerful than the cruiser's anti sub capabilities. In the modern and information ages, carriers should most of the time be the ONLY flagship. Always use them for air supremacy in sea maps, you won't regret the funding.
The only real good purpose you have for the great heavy gun ships is shore bombardment of buildings (You can still pound away cruisers and even unsespecting carriers). Obviosly the first thing to bombard on shore is fortifications, and ESPEACIALLY AA buildings. If your openent likes to spam his AA for good defence (like I do) take the time to kill them all. With your openent's first line of defence gone, you can now invade and bomb their cities!
RULE OF THUMB WITH CARRIERS AND BATTLESHIPS! Subs are a nightmare, but cruisers can counter them, and helis and fighter bombers can mow them down (literally).
Cruisers are a good all around fighting ship. You have anti sub and anti air capabilties, along with light guns. Just remember if the enemy spams his subs right in one direction (like the AI will do) your cruisers can still become subs themselves (only perminent). They can still be used for anti shore placement, yet somewhat less affective, and are good at damaging invading air and land forces.
Subs are really good if your openent's unwise. Battleships cannot shoot worth crap at them. Carriers, if unprepared, can be destroyed. HELPFULL ADVICE: if your enemy's carriers are sending their squadrons on a mission, you have a HUGE window of opertunity while they become sitting, defensless ducks. They even have to wait to re-enmbark their fighter/bombers because the aircaft have to refuel. Though they CANNOT shoot at aircraft, they can completly destroy an entire anfibious invasion force. EARLY ON at the start of a sea map game, its good to make at least 5 subs ASAP and then right away having them auto explore. They won't just pick off navies (exept cruiers), but they can destroy seaborne merchants, crippling your openent's gold funding. They will also cut to size any moving troops (good hunting!).

Helicopters are not at all naval units, being made at the airbase, but they are very effective for anti sub patrols in squadrons of 3 or more (correct me if I'm wrong). The best part about this is, NO FUEL LIMIT! They can deploy any time, any where. Just watch out for AA defences.
Sorry, but regular fighters and heavy bombers can barely sratch any naval unit (exept fighter vs fighter/bomber). Don't waste their mission time on this.
Have fun with your navy!


Darthatari
sargonthegreat
Member
posted 09-23-09 09:40 PM EDT (US)     23 / 46       
Great, although somewhat disjointed, little guide!

This will certainly go into the RoN Game Manual.
EoB Heraclius
Member
posted 09-23-09 09:42 PM EDT (US)     24 / 46       
Very useful information, thank you for posting it! Makes my job a little easier!
sargonthegreat
Member
posted 09-23-09 09:49 PM EDT (US)     25 / 46       
If you can get a rough draft ready for the strategy section in a month from now, that would be great.

Obviously, RoN ≠ Life, so a month might be unrealistic, but whenever you can get the Strategy section completed, then please upload it so that I can edit it (I'll be glad to take the title as editor) and make into a nice PDF file.
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