Empire: Total War Diary – Part 4, The Five Year War

By: Tom Senior

Published: January 29, 2010 Posted in: Game Reports, Toms Total War
Empire Diary Part 4 - Empire Diary pt4_1

There are three different Huron armies in Rupert’s Land and they’re all being complete dicks.

Their strategy is to rampage through my territory setting fire to all of my resources. I march out and crush one of them and the remnants of their force flee out of Rupert’s Land, only to return a turn later to sack my fur factory yet again. It’s like colonial whackamole. Enemy pops up and burns my stuff, I smash them and repair my stuff only to have said stuff torched a turn later by a different force. Ideally, I’d just divide my forces and station them at each resource to intercept the enemy before any damage can be done. The trouble is that with limited recruitment points I can’t replenish my military forces very quickly and splitting up my forces means that I’ll take more casualties with each conflict – something I can’t afford. So I keep them consolidated knowing that the Huron don’t have the resources to keep throwing out armies like this. Or, at least, I hope they don’t.

Meanwhile, back in the land of Tea and Cricket, domestic advancement continues apace. Manchester has emerged as a centre of learning and my conquest of Rupert’s Land has gained me another school to boot. On top of this it’s raining educated Gentlemen in London at the moment. You can throw a stone and hit a burgeoning genius in the capital. As soon as they emerge I make a habit of sending them all straight to Manchester, partly for a laugh, but mainly because their stacking research bonuses should let me rip through some of the more advanced technologies.

Let’s see what else I have in my Inbox. Poland finally send me a request for peace that doesn’t involve me giving them all of Ireland. Peace Treaty signed. You could have had this twenty years ago, you morons. Oh, what’s this? Finland have declared war with me, for no good reason. Lovely. Well, swings and roundabouts. One pointless war traded for another. I have more important things to consider.

Empire Diary Part 4 - Empire Diary pt4_2

The Huron are running out of steam. Most of their small harrying forces are destroyed. It’s time to turn the tables. I march my amassed forces to the border of Rupert’s Land and meet a sizeable Huron force entering my territory. The army I’m fielding consists of many of the same men who retook Moose Factory. Almost all of them have gained accolades. Most impressively of all, Gosling, the meek general who replaced the great John Churchill after Churchill’s unfortunate encounter with the grim reaper out at sea, has become incredible. With each victory he has gained experience and an additional trait. Now he confers even greater leadership bonuses in battle, bonuses when leading infantry units and when proactively attacking enemies. He’s even a field surgeon which improves the recovery rate of your troops after battle. He’s a six star monster, having exceeded Churchill in almost every way. Just the man I need at the spearhead of my conquering force.

The invading Huron army is swiftly dispatched in an interesting battle that sees me exploiting the unique talents of the local troops I’ve recruited. They’re skirmishing light infantry with some mild skill at range. More impressively, their knowledge of their homeland grants them distinctive subterfuge advantages on the battlefield. They can remain completely hidden from the enemy in forested areas and even low-lying scrub. I have about seven squads of them in my army. Their combined firepower and ability to stay hidden until the moment of attack makes them a potent flanking force. I utterly wreck the invading Huron force with nothing less than a classic pincer movement. I divide my army and deploying them at the very opposite ends of the map. My well-drilled linemen stay as visible as possible and march towards the enemy while 400 hidden skirmishers encircle them. The trap, when sprung, results in me almost completely wiping out the entire army. Having the enemy surrounded makes cutting down fleeing units much easier.

I march into Huron territory, heading straight for their capital. We’re in the endgame of this war.

The Huron send out a small force of about three or four units to meet me. They’re close enough to the capital to gain reinforcements from the huge army stationed there, but it’s a bizarre move. Why not wait, endure a siege and then come out with the biggest force possible? Why not just send the whole army out to meet me? It’s a bad decision that shows the kinks in Empire’s AI still haven’t been entirely ironed out. No matter, I’ll take whatever I can get. Let’s do this.

BATTLE REPORT: Breaking Huron’s Back

The Huron reinforcements won’t arrive for about five minutes. In order to make this easy for myself I’m going to have to wipe out the force that’s waiting for me somewhere hidden beyond the veil of the fog of war. There’s no point in lining up in formation, better to simply start the battle and charge my men across the map.

It has begun. A great cloud of red appears on my minimap, approaching from beyond the battlefield’s limits, travelling at marching speed towards me. By the time they can lay eyes on me I need to be lined up in formation to greet them, which means I need every Huron warrior currently inside the battlefield limits to die. Fast.

I order my cavalry to drop their guns and charge at full speed towards the centre of the map. They’ll engage the bulk of the small force lurking ahead with their hatchets. I don’t expect them to win. In fact, they deserve to take a serious casualties. The purpose of the charge isn’t to slaughter the enemy, it’s to hold them in melee until my guns get within range. When that happens the fight will be over.

I spot the enemy quickly. They’ve got a unit of cavalry, a cannon and a couple of infantry units. I charge my cavalry towards them, using a small forest to disrupt the cannon’s view on the way in. They don’t even have a chance to fire before they’re overrun by angry horses. Meanwhile, my ranks of massed infantry fast-march their way over a nearby hill. This is the largest army I’ve fielded so far in the entire campaign, formed of over a thousand men. Seeing the bulk of them advancing scares even me, their commander. It’ll take a fearless man to brave that gun line, or an insane man, or perhaps just a desperate one. After all, if these warriors lose this fight their last remaining colony will be completely vulnerable. If they lose this battle, the Huron-Wyandot are finished.

The orange cones that signify the range of my rifles sedately pass over the small enemy force. There’s a thunderous storm of rifle shots. About forty Huron die instantly, the enemy cavalry and one of the infantry units instantly turn and flee. Jesus.

I select my cavalry, who I initially sent to hold the enemy in place, and move to dispatch them to hunt down and slaughter the fleeing units. Then I stop myself, realising ruthless just how casually ruthless I’ve become. Over the course of the campaign it’s become a matter of habit to run down and kill every last foe. I’ve spend the last ten turns stamping out the remnants of my enemies, knowing that any survivors would continue to harry me relentlessly. The situation has changed. Escapees can only flee as far as the nearest doomed city. I let the survivors go and hide the cavalry in some nearby woods instead.

My infantry murder what’s left of the advance Huron force. I turn them all to face the new threat, the actual bulk of their army, emerging from a treeline to the West. I stretch my units wide and thin, giving every man a chance to fire unimpeded. My General stands behind the entire gun line, well out of harms way. I move my hidden cavalry unit to an advanced flanking position.

The reinforcements come at me as rag tag clusters of infantry, a long column made up of hundreds and hundreds of men. As each cluster of foes draws near they’re routed by my guns. Ass the enemy begins to mount up I charge the cavalry out of the forest and slay their general. Resolve shattered, the Huron charge off the field. For the indigenous peoples of North America it’s game over. The colonial machine stomps onwards unopposed.

There’s one last battle for Fort Sault. There are about 700 enemy forces still stationed there, but they are the Huron’s basic unit, essentially civilians with axes. As a result the Huron’s final battle is anticlimactic. The Huron had no choice but to charge me head on. My line infantry simply did what they do best and the battle is won. Fort Sault falls and the Huron-Wyandot people are destroyed, wiped forever from the pages of history.

It’s time to rebuild and develop my shiny new Nation. I have an incredibly experienced general at the head of a well decorated and formidable army. I’ll just need a few turns to make sure they’re fully reinforced, to upgrade the resources in my new territories, then I can concentrate on eliminating the Pirate armada lurking on the Ivory coast and maybe consider building-

Oh. Shit.

Tom Senior