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Mercenaries, Manpower and Spies

BC Knight

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Yesterday I watched a YT video about, as they said, the last war between Bulgaria and Byzantium.

So here's what happened:

The Byzantine emperor took advantage of the succession crisis in Bulgaria and quickly captured several castles. After that, the Bulgarians recaptured some of the forts which caused the emperor to call all of his armies and invade Bulgaria.

The Bulgarian tsar has chosen to build a camp on the north side of the mountain while the emperor's camp was on the southern side. The only way to move was through a narrow passage which was too risky for both sides.

Both parties sent messengers and started peace negotiations. The Bulgarians needed time to gather all their army. They also called Tatar mercenaries to join their camp. The reinforcement remained unknown for the Byzantines and the Bulgarians managed to convince the emperor that they are willing to accept his terms. In order to reduce the cost of upkeep his army and the use of supplies, the emperor sent some of his forces home.

The Bulgarians found about that and soon they attacked the emperor.

The composition of the armies was about 10000 Bulgarian and Tatar soldiers vs. 3000 Byzantines. The emperor didn't know about the Tatar heavy cavalry until the battle has begun.

After a while, the emperor retreated to a nearby fort and was besieged. Soon a peace treaty was signed which included returning land to Bulgaria and a royal marriage.

While watching the video, I was thinking about KOH:

I wonder how will mercenaries work in KOH 2?

In KOH1 there is this cute foreign camp with soldiers waiting to be hired and I usually was crossing nearby provinces hoping to find one and take an early game advantage of stronger units. After hiring them, they behave just like normal units.

I think it would be great to hire not just units, but an entire mercenary army that would attach to your army and join battles?  The mercs may have their own leader and should he dies their morale would suffer. In the example the Bulgarian tsar hired the Tatars, probably paid a lot of gold, and after the war, they were most likely disbanded.  

How will Manpower affect army recruiting and refilling?

In KOH1 there is so easy to refill the units. Just need to go to a castle and use coin to refill the regiments. This could lead to repeating and endless battles and one usually chooses to auto fight the battles. Instead, if there is an option both sides to gather their entire armies into a single epic battle, and this battle to be enough to win the war sometimes if the losses of the defeated side are devastating.

Fog of war & Visibility

Going back to the story, the Byzantine emperor didn’t know the entire strength of the Bulgarian army until the start of the battle. Usually, in strategy games, the player has quite big visibility over the enemy’s army once entering the province (though, I haven't played any recent TW versions and don’t know how it works there) and probably AI knows everything about your army. I wonder would it be possible to have more limited visibility which could be affected by the terrain and, why not, spies. It would be nice if you could surprise the enemy with your army strength or being surprised somehow.  

What would be the role of the spies?

Let’s imagine that this battle is actual gameplay:

I play with Bulgaria, and the Byzantines are occupying my lands,  I would have better visibility and could see their forces in more details. I also have a spy in the Byzantian court and I could ask him to cause unrest in the enemy camp by sending rumors or bribing. If both armies are sitting in their camps for a while, the Byzantine army would already have limited supplies and their morale would be lowered. In this case depending on my spy influence and/or some coin used for bribing I may be successful and I will see that the enemy leader sends some of his armies back. Then I use this opportunity and attack. This could be even more complicated if the Byzantines discover the spy and set me a trap by disbanding and rejoining their forces...

I play with Byzantium, I am invading enemy territories. My visibility would be limited and by default, I cannot fully see the enemy camp as they are hidden on the northern side of the mountains. But I have a spy in the Bulgarian court and thanks to him, I am aware of the enemy’s strength and I know that the Bulgarian tsar hired Tatar mercenaries. I could ask the spy to try to bribe the mercenary leader not to join the upcoming battle. It would be even more exciting if I don’t know if the spy has succeeded or not until the beginning of the battle. So the battle has started and I am watching the Tatar cavalry charging my flanks, but at the last moment, they turn and retreat the battlefield causing disorganization and moral losses in the Bulgarian army. Considering that a victory in this single battle could be almost enough to win the war if it’s devastating for Bulgaria, the resources and risks would be worth it.

I hope soon there will be info about some of the topics in the upcoming dev streams.



Edited by BC Knight
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  • 1 year later...

The "hire mercenary army mechanic" would be solved nicely by allowing kingdoms to negotiate with famous rebels and e.g. pay them to invade a province or leave one's kingdom. I believe this has been suggested elsewhere.


Regarding manpower and mercenary camps: I think the camps were a nice feature visually and gameplay wise, but there was never any need to use them because you had more manpower than you could use. If you make manpower more restricted and mercenaries have tick-by-tick upkeep costs, it would be a nice addition and make mercenaries meaningful.

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