How to Kill Each of the AI's
Ever since buying Crusader I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out which is the best combination of troops for attacking. I have heard lots of opinions, but most of them were entirely wrong.
When attacking an AI it is good to use as many troops as possible. By doing that you will lose fewer troops and that's not just compared with the total amount. For example, for killing Rat I have used 20 crossbowmen and lost 4 of them. If I use 50 crossbowmen I won't lose any of them. So for my tests I have used the minimum amount of troops needed to kill the king and evaluated the costs of different attacks to find the best attack.
This is what my tests consist of:
I made a map where the AI had all the resources available, including oil, wood and iron. My castle was already well defended so I didn't have to build my castle again for each tested AI. I left the computer AI alone to build his castle in peace until it was fully garrisoned and had enough money. Then I used different combinations of troops I considered appropriate for that particular mission to try killing the enemy king. After finishing the mission several times I estimated the costs and found that special strong and cheap combination.
My first subject was almighty Rat. Now this is what I've heard from one of the forumers: "20 swordsmen will wipe him out no matter how well he's doing." I have tried that and here are the results: I had 10 swordsmen killed and another 10 lived to tell the story. Now let's estimate the costs… let's see … 5 armors cost 290 gold, 5 swords cost another 290 gold and 5 swordsmen cost 250 gold. That leads to a total of 3320 gold, not to mention that I have lost half of them and the others aren't in good health themselves…
There must be a better tactic… here's the first one. Instead of trashing his castle with 20 swordsmen I used 20 assassins and waited for him to attack me so that he has a minimum amount of troops on top of his keep (I did that when attacking with the swordsmen too and I continued doing it for each AI) then I rushed my assassins on top of the keep: simple but effective. This attack cost me only 1200 gold, but I have lost most of my troops (5 left).
But price is not all. It is important that the losses are minimal. This is the second tactic used for Rat. Troops used: 20 crossbowmen, troops killed: 4. First step: approach his castle from the optimal direction so that his gatehouse closes and he can no longer send his spearmen out: Although his gatehouse is closed he can still send his troops outside, so I'll have to destroy the access way with a crossbowmen. (Use attack here and click on the wall; the troop must be close or he will attempt to fire arrows at it). I also destroyed his barracks so that he can no longer build any troops.
After destroying the barracks it is important that you keep a troop on the spot so that he can no longer build it again. Not being able to attack my crossbowmen with any troops Rat did his best trying to avoid the arrows but after 5 minutes the inevitable happened.
A forumer once said, "in this case brute force is necessary". Well, it is not. In the first place his crossbowmen are a pain in the … somewhere. He uses 5 crossbowmen for each tower and can have up to 5 towers. Note that crossbowmen are devastating against swordsmen and his macemen are … well … "kinda big" like spearmen say when you send them in combat against them. If Pig notices any activity going up nearby he will immediately send his macemen to clean it up. This is a job for Superman… oh sorry… too much comics … This is a job for 40 assassins (2400 gold). The idea is to let him know you are attacking only seconds before the assault. Notice that there aren't many macemen on top of his keep in my screenshot. That is because as soon as he noticed the incoming assassins he sent most of his macemen out into the field (a very stupid decision) thus leaving the king unprotected. The only reason I need 40 assassins to finish this mission is that pain I was talking to you about: 25 well trained crossbowmen.
Sir Lurchalot also has an interesting idea. He claims he can beat Pig with 15 assassins and some fire ballistas. At first I didn't believe this could prove clever, but then I realized that ballistas have a bigger range than crossbowmen. There still a problem though. In order to keep the price low you would have to use less than 7 ballistas which would prove susceptible to melee damage, but that's not a problem after all. You can still use the tactic I applied to Rat: closing his gatehouse. You can use some assassins to do that, but then the macemen would have no way outside and will stay on the keep so they will have to be killed with ballistas too.
Killing Snake with little troops was a tricky task because of the great number of archers he uses. To beat this mission I used the same tactic I used with Rat except for I didn't send my crossbowmen on top of his castle: I rushed my crossbowmen until his gatehouse closed and did my best in trying to keep his archers busy dying.
I assume this mission could also be completed by using fire ballistas but I needed faster troops to close his gatehouse before the AI gets the chance to send anyone outside. The cost was 5150 gold.
Killing Wolf was the hardest task of all. Like they say, he holds
his castle in an iron grip. To complete this mission I had to
spend 21000 gold (if anyone comes up with a cheaper method please
share it). This is the arsenal I have used:
50 fire ballistas
My personal favorite attack is the combined fire ballistas + crossbowmen + 1 tower attack, but here I had to use the trebs to make it easier for the crossbowmen to approach. First thing I did was to make the closest towers unusable. You do that by calculating the amount of damage you give to the towers. If you accidentally tear it down you wait for it to be reconstructed and start all over again. I did that because I didn't want Wolf to be able to reconstruct the towers.
Then I use the fire ballistas to clear the area of crossbowmen and swordsmen. I try to protect my crossbowmen as much as possible as they are the only ones able to climb the towers.
Then I show him what it means to wage real warfare: kill all of his troops, burn his castle etc.
* denotes a former staff member.