I lost an Imperialism II game, and I realized I needed to update the strategy guide to include another step. Don’t let two “Weak Army” messages appear without planning to build a “bridge army” to deter an attack from your neighbor, particularly if the empire you about which you are being warned shares a border with your empire.
Here’s a relatively simple chart to guide you on what constitutes a bridge army:
|Available Resources||Recommend Unit Type||Quantity||Necessary Technologies|
|Horses, Bronze||Lancer||4||Land Enclosure –> Organized Regiments|
|Horses, Iron||Cossack||4||Crop Rotation –> Recruit Step Horsemen|
|Iron||Halberdier||4||Land Enclosure –> Organized Regiments –> Improved Iron Weapons|
The table is sequenced by most desirable to least desirable. I included halberdiers here in case you have neither horses nor bronze. If you are in this situation, you could probably conquer with a culverin to knock a hole in a wall and the halberdiers following. But halberdiers require the same research effort as musketeers, so if you have bronze, musketeers are superior. Calivermen require one more technological step (Saw Mill –> Printing Press) than musketeers, but if you can recruit them, they work just as well as musketeers. If you have to rely on Peasant Levies, my guess is that you are in deep trouble unless you can recruit a mass of them and still keep your economy running.
A critical variable in this discussion is how many provinces you have which could be exposed to attack. Obviously, the more exposed provinces you have, the more units you’ll need.
An alternative to building units is to upgrade forts to Level 2. This works especially well if you share a border with an empire which borders yours at only one province.
To illustrate this situation, consider how I played Holland using the map generated by the key Llallagh Kan. In slot7.imp is the save where I didn’t build a bridge force. The resources I had when my neighbor Sweden declared war on me was bronze, iron and wood, but I did not have enough horses. Moreover, the two provinces most exposed to attack contained my bronze and tin, jeopardizing future bronze production, and my only horse ranch.
I built a bridge force of 2 knights, 4 bowmen and 4 pikemen. I then recruited peasants beyond my food capacity and sold resources to have a stack of cash to launch a counterattack to retake the province(s) Sweden would take.
To my surprise, I managed to defeat Sweden. It did take a province, which I then took back. Sweden and I made peace, which gave me time to research the technology for Musketeers. I then recruited 6 Musketeers, declared war on Sweden, and took its capitol with an attack of a general, 6 Musketeers and 4 bowmen. The attack also provided enough money to fund the remaining conquests of Sweden’s territory, which France fortunately did not try to acquire. Having to deplete my population with recruitment of inferior units made this game complicated.
I restarted this game and this time deliberately sought a bridge force of 4 knights. To accomplish this, I exploited my horse ranch earlier in the game and focused on having a population sufficient to sustain the bridge force and a growing economy. This game saw Holland ascend to victory relatively easily. I have the saves which illustrate this game.
P.S. Shoutout to Tables Generator for helping me create the table.