Empire: Total War Diary – Part 7, New Friends

By: Tom Senior

Published: March 25, 2010 Posted in: Game Reports, Toms Total War

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I’m losing control of my empire.

The effective French counter-attack in the Americas forced me to recruit new forces as quickly as possible, which is an expensive business. I hiked taxes everywhere to fund the training of said troops, and the populace haven’t taken kindly to it. Workers are striking in England, Michigan and the Northwestern Territories. The freshly conquered American regions aren’t too happy either, with the memories of invasion still fresh in their minds, they sent a letter of demands asking for more money.

I push for one more round of recruitment and then drop taxes to the lowest possible levels. That last turn was a step too far for the Northwestern Territories. The local peasants take up arms and take back their territory. The Huron-Wyandot are back.

Not that it matters much, the French have marched North from Fort Sault and taken Moose Factory. North America is completely lost. The good news is that the territories I do have are well defended, and the vast piles of gold I amassed have allowed me to raise a sizeable army in London. Three horse drawn 6lb cannons and hundreds and hundreds of line infantry are lounging around the capital’s barracks, kicking their heels and repressing the irate populace. What they don’t know is that next week they’ll be on a boat, crossing the English channel and taking the fight to Paris.

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It’s at this point, on the verge of sending my troops into France, that a huge French fleet materialises and blockades Bristolport. Its might is such that if I merge all of my fleets in the region I still won’t have enough ships to match them in a fair fight. My concern turns to surprise and confusion when an even bigger and more powerful fleet sporting a national flag I’ve never seen before comes from nowhere and sinks the French force at Bristolport outright.

Meet my saviours, the noble people of Courland. What the hell is Courland, you ask? Know only this: at this moment they have the largest navy in the world, and they hate the French.

Courland are one of the many minor nations who occupy small shards of territory throughout the world in Empire. They mostly exist to get immediately conquered, but on this occasion, for reasons that aren’t even slightly apparent to me, Courland has risen to become a whopping great big naval superpower, and their fleets seem to be dedicated to eradicating the French wherever they can be found. I send them 2500 gold and propose an alliance. They accept. This is a good omen. It’s time to invade.

I make a cup of tea and sanction some more terrorism to pave the way for my invasion force. The twins Jim, my ignoble men of the night, have been busy burning everything they can get their hands on. Their latest target is the most important. Between them they manage to set the barracks in Paris alight, which means the French can’t reinforce the army stationed there. A navy ferries my army over the channel and my forces head straight to Paris and lay siege. The French, unable to recruit reinforcements from within the city thanks to the sterling work of my Rakes, decide to march out and try and defeat me straight away. Empire is about to live up to its name. This is total war.



I have 1200 well trained and well armed men. The money I put into Universities is starting to pay off. My armies’ muskets have come a long way from their initial incarnation. Improved bayonet technology has increased their accuracy and made them formidable in close quarters. Meanwhile, new military doctrines have given rise to new battlefield abilities. My men are well drilled enough to fire in ranks, and I have researched the devastating fire and advance tactic, (depicted brilliantly 1 minute into this clip from Zulu). The enemy has 1400 entrenched troops, a mixture of disciplined, competent Line Infantry and Firelock Infantry, rubbish cowardly untrained men pulled off the Parisian streets, handed a musket and shoved out of the door. They also have explosive rocket launchers, very crude and distant ancestors of the modern shoulder mounted iterations, this stationary artillery piece is both wildly inaccurate and absolutely terrifying.

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Nothing suits my army set up more than an enemy who has to charge me. In this circumstance the key to victory lies in the deployment phase, which is an exercise in finely crafting the most deadly firing line possible. My three 6lb cannons are deployed on a hill and my line infantry are positioned behind them in units 3 ranks deep, the optimal formation for troops that know how to rank fire. I line up my General’s bodyguard safely behind the line and position a unit of melee cavalry in front of them to charge in where necessary and provide extra support. Finally, between the Line Infantry and cannons I stretch two long single file units of my secret weapon: Grenadiers. Guess what they do.

DONG. Battle underway. Holy shit, rockets.

They arc wildly over the hill, they’re harmless compared to their cannons. 6lb slugs come crashing towards my condensed firing line. This could be a problem. The French line marches towards me, a unit of their cavalry circle around and charge my flank, I intercept them with my own cavalry ten feet from my Line Infantry. My counter charge freaks them out and they turn tail and run, I order my cavalry to charge ahead, they outflank the bulk of the French force and charge the cannons. One problem dealt with, now for the 1380 other problems marching towards me.

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My cannons manage to miss at every opportunity, but as soon as the enemy closes to a certain range I order them to switch to canister shot, essentially turning my cannons into gigantic shotguns that mince up the approaching infantry quite horribly. The enemy starts to climb the hill and step in range of my firing line. A few hundred fall, their morale wavers. Then at the click of a button my Grenadiers hurl their grenades. more die, they’re almost at the top of the hill, they engage my cannon crew and expose themselves to the full force of my firing line at point blank range. Moments later the fight is over.

It’s hard to be more victorious. I lost 100 men. I left over 700 French dead on the battlefield. The other 700 retreats to the safety of the walls. They won’t be safe for long.



I decide to attack the castle walls straight away. I outnumber them 2 to 1. If I charge my entire army at the walls I think I’ve got them.

A picture tells a thousand words, so here’s four thousand words worth of visual exposition.

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I tried shooting a hole in the wall of the fort with my cannons, but then their cannons shot two of my three cannons to death, so I went for plan B, which is to charge everyone at the walls. Observe as the first of my men suicidally climb the walls and are slaughtered. The first ones up never survive.

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I then forgot to tell my one remaining cannon to STOP FIRING AT THE WALL. I am THE MASTER OF STRATEGY.

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The unfortunate cannon incident does little to deter my troops. Soon I have the wall, this means that everyone left inside is completely screwed. Walls have no loyalty.

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I charge my men down into the square and finish off the last of the defenders and emerge victorious.

Paris is mine. France is mine.

Just the rest of the world to go.

Tom Senior