Warfighting Styles

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Ive noticed, in fighting for my kingdom Ive settled into the role being the consolidator. When a kingdom is a war it knows only one speed, amass armies and take fiefs, after that is accomplished rinse and repeat. What the end result is the army overstretching itself, taking too much territory and not properly defending it, losing the recently captured fiefs and eventually being overwhelmed and destroyed by a larger army. If I do nothing the armies end up losing so many men they are less effective and vulnerable to being destroyed by a larger force, its lords being captured. Your kingdom will raise new armies weaker than the former and repeat the cycle over and over again.

So I take on the role of consolidating the gains defending them and supporting the main horde when they eventually overreach their offensive capability by attacking a town with continuing dwindling numbers. What it essentially ends up looking like is following the main effort reinforcing the captured fiefs, defending them and making sure the main force does not get overwhelmed by a larger army. It ends up being a damned if you do and damned if you dont situation. Damned if you do because it isnt to fun, but damned if you dont because your kingdom will end up "losing" the war. Sometimes I just ignore it and go on the offense but this is conterproductive because the main army just ends up getting annihilated.
With patch 1.2 on the horizon, I suspect it'll be wiser than ever to try to rush down the enemy kingdom into non-existence because you won't have to worry about thinly defended fiefs if there's no zombie faction to bedevil them.

In general, what I did when I played to unification, months ago, was to focus on short wars with humble goals until I reached a point where wars were becoming endless and constant. At that point, I picked a direction (West) and focused on conquering the whole of it, even if it meant losing the easternmost territories, because I figured that, once the West was conslidated, it'd be a matter of time before me friendly A.I.s overwhelm the eastern half of the map. That, more or less, ended up being the case, with me focusing on Sturgia while my subordinates focused on the Empire (Western, but it united the whole region and most of the Steppe) and then I focused on the Steppe and squeezed the Empire from two sides.

By starting slow, I was able to minimize casualties and secure gains, but as the kingdom got wider and wider it became impossible to continually expand without losing ground in the area I wasn't personally at. That was when I decided to focus on one front and then deal with the other when the west was united.

My general strategy should be more effective with faction elimination being a proper thing, though, since rushing a vulnerable faction effectively liquidates most of their clans (apparently) from the equation to keep war parties and armies on the map to a minimum. I'll have to see some time after 1.2 comes out to consoles if my theory's right though.
The best strategy is recruit clans, looks for clans with no settlements and buy them off. Once you have about 20 you don't need to participate. The ai will conquer the world for you.
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