Medieval 2 Total War help.

I just started playing this game a couple days ago and it’s good.
It’s not the overwhelming fantastic I was hoping for but that’s probably because I don’t understand everything I’m doing and I’m playing it like I would civilisation.

I know there’s a bunch of you buggers who play this game so I’m hoping you’ll have mercy on a newbie and help me out.

Why don’t I get prisoners? When I make the enemy brake and run, I chase them down and I get captives but I’ve only been asked what I wanted to do with them twice. (One was a Scotish prince. Very profitable battle).

The battle statistics at the end say I’ve taken prisoners, but there’s another columb that says I’ve taken no captives. What am I doing wrong?

Also, defences. It costs me a fortune to maintain standing armies for my cities and I’ve only got a couple pesant bowmen and two levy spearmen in the cities. Hardly enough to stop a serious attack. What level of defences should I be aiming for? any suggestions for which units I should use ?

Any other suggestions? Anything which is going to make a big different to the game but is not immediatly obvious ?


First of all, give the game some time - there’s a steep learning curve.

As to you prisoner’s dillema: I’m guessing the battles that didn’t yield prisors were against the Welsh rebels. The game doesn’t take prisoners in fights against rebels, bandits and other factionless combatants, just as it doesn’t allow them to have any survivors when they lose a battle. You beat a rebel army, it disappears. Simple as that.

As to garrisons: it’s a matter of balance. Naturally, you can’t keep a full stack in every city; but cities do come under attack, occasionally, and a few well-chosen troops can hold off a much larger attacker. In my experience it’s better to keep as few troops as you can buttoned up in garrisons, unless the city in question is close to a hostile border. That means about 3 units in a regular city (just enough to ward off rebellion), and 5-7 in “conflict zone” garrison. Remember, though, that in most cases the garrison is there to delay an enemy, not beat him, so make sure you always have a mobile field army nearby to lift a siege.

Remember, though, that losing a city is no big deal. You can always take it back the next turn.

The bigger the city gets the more ‘free’ units of militia are allowed to be garrisoned in the city. I think when you get a huge city there’s about 4-5 unites of militia you can garrison there without it costing you anything. Anywho, pay close attention to that.

You may not be impressed now, but wait until there’s an early morning battle and your archers just loosed their flaming arrows into a charging enemy. You’ll be impressed then.

Like the others said, support for certain units in cities is free to a point. If you really think the city will be attacked, add a couple units of bowmen like you were saying – the point there is to cause lots of casualties when it’s attacked, not to defend it from being taken over.

Having an entire army defend a city is a losing proposition most of the time. A good defense is a good offense in this situation. Bring the fight to the enemy, with enough units in your cities so they won’t fall immediately if some enemy do slip past your field armies. (Of course, rest the field armies in the cities/castles until they are actively defending/attacking unless you have a bridge defense going on.)

If you don’t have enough cash to garrison your frontline cities using the max of their free slots (or the equivalent for castles,) AND have enough fairly full field armies to provide a good offensive defense, then you need to invest in your economy. I haven’t been playing long enough to know what works best, but nearly anything that list economic development will increase your economy significantly in the long term, and if you have corruption in your city then city halls and their upgrades are a winning proposition monetarily as well.

Another thing you have to worry about are spies getting into your cities. It’s not a death sentence but it does make the defense harder and causes you to change your strategy.

What I do when I get infiltrated with spies is I rush a couple of archer to the section of the wall where they’re attacking and use those as a delaying action. Expect to lose them.

Then I rush all the other units into the town square. The general and any missile units go into the center alone with a couple of infantry as a reserve. The rest (preferably spearmen) are placed onto the streets. They’ll usually clog up the enemy while your missile units pepper them. If they are really bunched up you can send your cavalry around the back and rush them. Not only will that cause a route but it’ll put the enemy in a position where you can easily capture the bulk of their army.

Question for the others though: Do y’all release them, ransom them, or execute? I usually execute because I don’t want the enemy to be able to refit the army I just let go.

Okay, here’s how I roll.

In the beginning, build money-making buildings (markets, docks, etc.) spam diplomats, priests, and archers. Don’t build big-ticket units right away, unless you’re sure you can support them.

Use your priests at spies. Let them show you the map and keep tack of what rebel cities are still open. Go after the rebel cities when you can. Now is also a good time to build a few boats and beat up on pirates (make sure you outnumber them) and get experience for your navy. You’ll need it to lift a blockade or to trabsoort an army to an open costal city, like a lot of the Middle East in the beginning of the game, as well as Smyrna and the island just south of it. Get your diplomats in contact with every faction and make nice. Get their map every time. When you get some world geography, your map becomes a good bargaining chip. Use that chip to get small cities from other factions snd get footholds in exotic places. Also place a diplomat by the pope and make sure he stays pleasant towards you. Keep giving him your world map as the world changes to keep him happy.

Over time, spread your priests out. Rbounce heretics and pack the College of Cardinals.

Remember, cities make more revenue that castles, but they don’t create military units or have superior defenses.
We’ve got a game or two going that we bounce amongst a bunch of Dopers. Join in.

MMmm…a MTW 2 thread.

As the Mythbusters would say, ‘Well there’s your problem!’. :wink: You can’t really play the game (IMHO) like Civ…at least not how I play Civ (YMMV). Research for instance, while important, isn’t as key as it is in Civ. In MTW 2 (and Rome and all of the other ones for that matter) its all about coin. The more coin you get from trade and your cities, the more money you have to spend on whats REALLY important…namely troops and ships.

In general I build up my trading infrastructure first (roads, ports, trading complexes, merchants), then my city health infrastructure…the only exception to this is on the frontier where I build walls and fortifications first if I feel those cities are vulnerable (basically my plan is too keep besiegers at bay until I can bring up a stack and trounce them). I then pick several cities/castles in strategic locations and selectively build up my military capabilities…i.e. in one city I build out the militia line. In another I build out cavalry. In another gunpowder type troops, cannon and such. Etc. In the end I usually end up with several cities that have different units types, and so I can build an army by simultaneously building out all the unit types I need from different cities, then tossing a general at them.

As others have said, look who you are fighting. If its rebels then don’t bother with prisoners…you won’t get any. Also, if you are pressing a nation hard they will get to the point where they won’t pay anymore for prisoners (unless they are in the royal family), so don’t expect to make much money from this if you are putting a nation to the wall. I generally get the majority of my money from sacking and plundering captured cities and castles myself.

In general I keep my cities manned with crappy militia units…and my castles too (even though the units aren’t compatible and you can’t repair militia units in castles).

For core cities/castles its usually enough to have a spear man or two and a few militia archer/crossbow units to keep the population happy (assuming you have bought happyness buildings). In the yellow zone (not quite on the frontier but close enough that they could be raided) I usually like to have 3 spear men and 2-3 ranged units backed by a single cavalry unit. In general thats enough to hold any town or castle against anything short of a full court press (the more fortified towns and castles are ridiculously hard to take by direct assault…sometimes a boy scout troop can hold them against even the most determined assault). In the red zone (i.e. right on the bleeding edge) I like to have about a half stack composed of one or two decent melee units (men at arms, dismounted armored knights, billmen, pikemen, etc), a few throw away spear men (to soak up ladder assaults or assaults through gates or other choke points), and tons of ranged units (good archers/crossbowmen, gunpowder units, especially those armored hand gunners and riflemen) and a few cavalry units. I almost never lose a city unless its really under defended…and generally I only bother relieving half the sieges. I’ve found the computer has a really difficult time assaulting the tough cities…and honestly I have a pretty hard time TAKING one without crippling losses, so I prefer long sieges where the city/castle eventually surrenders on its own.
As others have said, the game will definitely grow on you. I switch back and forth these days between playing my TR patched copy of RTW, and MTW 2 (no TR patch yet, curse the luck). The game is simply put a hell of a lot of fun to play, and the tactical battles can be quite stunning. Also, at least in MTW2, the computer can sometimes do some interesting and quite unexpected things on the tactical battle field…which is always fun.


Thanks for the advice everyone.

No capturing rebels is interesting, because I’m very early in the game and almost all my fighting has been rebels. Which explains it. Although the Scots did try to take York and Inverness while I was fighting the Welsh. They failed and I took Edinburgh in retaliation.

So far, I’d agree with what xtisme said about sieges. I like to wait them out. I’ve taken Jerusalem like that during a crusade. If they do decide to fight, at least they don’t get to use their walls.

Is there any great value with being friends with the pope beyond being friends with the pope? does it prevent the other Catholic nations from attacking you? Coz it didn’t stop Spain last night. (They did ask for a ceasefire after I kicked their army in the ass)

It won’t stop Catholic nations from attacking you, no. Myself, I only stay one step ahead of excommunication. I’ll do any missions the Pope gives me that are easy (build a church, hire a priest, etc), but I almost never go on crusade myself. I’m sure others here will give you a different answer, but to me having extended territories in the holy land that I can’t really support very well is a waste of resources. In general if you break off attacks when the Pope so kindly asks you too, and you do the easy missions, the Pope won’t excommunicate you…though he’ll probably be constantly unhappy with you. I’m militantly unconcerned myself, as long as the Pope doesn’t call a crusade on ME!

I’ve already covered it, but let me re-iterate something here that will serve you well…if you are attacking another Christian nation and the Pope asks you to halt for some number of turns, I’d highly recommend breaking off all sieges and moving your troops to the boarder until the truce limit is over. Thats one of the quickest ways to get excommunicated if you don’t do it. Also, a lot of times the silly buggers you are fighting WON’T do that…and then THEY will be excommunicated, and so be wide open to attack. Also, pay attention to which countries on your frontier ARE excommunicated…and viciously attack that scum if/when they are. All in the name and for the glory of the church, mind. :wink:


In Prussia, Pope calls crusade on YOU!

I break off attacks when the Pope asks me to, too, and also stop just short of excommunication, but I do find that when I am running out of things the Pope will let me attack, sending a couple people over to the Holy Land increases my territory count, if nothing else, and gets me back in the Pope’s good graces (heh.)

I don’t send out a lot of priests, myself, because I can’t seem to make them cardinals reliably, and having more than you need for recon and heretic-suppression is useless unless you’re conquering the middle-east, plus you can’t get rid of them till they die, (or can you?)

Really? I find that if I recruit a good number of priests, I’m able to stack the College with my cardinals within the first 2 or 3 papal elections. Chance for a priest being turned into a cardinal seems mainly proportional to the number of priests you have (and I presume also depends on how many religious buildings you have).

I don’t know any way to get rid of them, no…but I usually just put then in my cities or in my primary army stacks. I don’t know if I’m just imagining it but it seems like the inquisition units don’t go after my generals as frequently if I have a priest (along with an assassin and spy unit) in the stack. In general I only create one when I have a pesky witch or heretic I need to take care of.


I’ll go on Crusades when I can, because it’s a great way to get experience for your troops and generals, keep the Pope happy, and get large bundles of quick cash, but I seldom try to hold the territories I capture. Just sack them, then send the troops home and let the city revolt or be recaptured.

It all depends on the size of your army after the Crusade, but you can easily take over two or three neighboring cities right afterwards, assuming you know the surrounding geography.

Well, like I said, its a matter of taste. For me, I’d rather send that full stack with general to capture that nice juicy city in eastern Germany or France than out in BFE somewhere. I can most likely take that fat, juicy city in Europe (sack it and get a nice bit of gold…AND integrate that city into my growing evil empire) the same time it takes to slog halfway around the world and take a city I probably won’t hold and can’t easily support or reinforce (especially if I’m being pressed in Europe). I almost never even put a toe in the holy land, or anywhere close…for one thing I HATE trying to fight those thrice gods damned cannon elephants that some of the folks out that way get. Or the heavy cavalry from hell the Mongols get.


Agreed about the Mongols (but I’ve still never faced the Timurids).

I find that if you can jump in and take a dozen states in the Middle East, that makes it so you can pick who you go after in Europe, instead of possibly pissing someone off that you don’t want to piss off.
Then again, games end differently, so sometimes it works great…sometimes it sucks goat ass.