Total War

Sun Tzu – Art of Total War Troy. What the game doesn’t teach you. 10 secrets to doing well. No cheese.

Content of the article: "Sun Tzu – Art of Total War Troy. What the game doesn’t teach you. 10 secrets to doing well. No cheese."

Troy offers some quite nice advancements to the Total War design. This includes how campaigns are played out for success. As well as some good improvements to the combat system.

Lesson 1: There is a tutorial campaign available as an alternative version of the Agamemnon campaign. When launching the game for the first time, you will be greeted with a one-time notification to choose three tutorial options. This notification will never appear again unless you reset the tutorial advisor. Clicking on the beginner option will direct you to the tutorial version of the Agamemnon campaign.

You can also activate the tutorial button on Agamemnon to start the tutorial version of his campaign.

The tutorial does not save with your campaign saves. Once the advisor explains something, he will not explain it again. Even if you reload a previous save. The tutorial for that part will not trigger a second time once it has already played. However, you can reset the advisor in the settings. Go to the advisor section, and click the clear history button.

Really important whether activating advisor or not – listen carefully to his advise at the beginning of each campaign. He will give you extremely valuable information about the factions/provinces around you.

Lesson 2: Faction play and synergy is more important than ever with Troy. In the book, there is a two-sided war between the Danans and the Trojans. Both sides called on their allied factions to help them win. This is important to keep in mind as you play the game. In Troy, you are one faction in a group of factions fighting another group of factions in a Total War. Therefore, the gameplay of Troy isn't simply about amassing a large army to fight the enemy. It's just as much about rallying allied factions to fight together.

Killing factions on your side of the war (biggest noob mistake that including myself has made when learning the game) will hinder your progress in the game. For example, killing your own units in battle will give you a disadvantage in battle. Uniting and maintaining faction alliances is just as important to the gameplay as developing your own army. It's not just important for map control, and a more organized campaign. The game can actually become quite a mess if not utilizing faction synergy well.

It's important to keep track of faction attitudes at all times. Some factions will have a diplomacy bonus, and some will have a diplomacy penalty. The fations with a bonus are valuable to preserve. Similar to preserving good units in your army. It's good to help keep friends alive. Check faction traits on the top right to see your pillar factions.

Danan Pillars = Mycenae, Sparta, Pythia, Ithaca, Argos, Salami, Arcadia, Pylos.

Trojan Pillars = Troy, Hector, Paris, Dardania, Lycia, Ilion Imbaros, Ilion Hycertide, Aegan Pellaegin, both Amazons.

Lesson 3: Do not try to beat Troy by building up a large army. This is a bit of an elaboration of tip two to clarify the concept of the game. There tends to be sort of an arms race mindset that comes from previous Total War games and other strategy games in general. Due to that sort of macro race design. Followed by superimposing those previous games onto Troy. While overlooking the actual inherent design of Troy. This approach is simply not going to cut it in any campaign. Therefore, it's important to take a fresh approach, and think/play a bit more strategically.

The Aegean Sea map is quite large with nearly twenty dozen factions on the board. The design of the game imposes an exponentially increasing fee for fielding additional armies. This is mainly to prevent single-minded play of macroing up for a huge army. Thereby, incentivizing more actual strategic play. So I'll give an example of what happens.

Single-minded strategy is trying to find ways and workarounds – to gain more army. And trying to handle attacks on multiple fronts. The campaign is quite effective at punishing this approach. The game becomes more tedious, and turns into a whackamole. Thereby, leaving you open to get dogpiled by all those factions on the map. Complaints about this happening in games is a result of playing according to this approach.

This is why it's important in this game to pay attention to how you're working with your faction allies. As in recognizing that they are part of the same war on your side to fight with you. So it's not just your army fighting on multiple fronts. It's your army with your faction allies fighting the war together.

Therefore, continuing to expand, gain econ, and develop your personal army is important. But not very effective to constantly be trying to go out of your way for this, while neglecting faction play. You will get the most out of this game by keeping in mind the development of both your own army as well as your faction alliances to utilize the strategic play this game has to offer.

Lesson 4: How to actually play strategically. Mechanics that have been latent or outright shunned/avoided in previous Total War games are actually important, and function quite well in Troy. It's a good idea to get a good understanding of diplomacy/trade functions like military alliances, trading wars, etc.

Like in chess, you might need to take your time on each turn thinking about all kinds of decisions, and how they will play out in later turns. To make the right choice.

Story – The province next door to my home province, is shared between my military ally and an enemy faction's last settlement. At the start of the turn, I'm in range of the enemy settlement getting ready to vanquish them. Meanwhile, another enemy faction is in range of my home province getting ready to attack it when I end my turn. Do I vanquish the enemy in front of me? Or use march to get back home to protect my province? Does this mean this game is a whackamole? Because I have to abandon one thing to deal with another?

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I decided to vanquish the enemy in front of me, and loot/occupy the settlement. I then, traded that settlement with my ally in that province to join my war against the enemy faction that was about to attack my province. Then use war coordination to target my ally onto that enemy. At end turn, my ally went and killed that enemy faction before they could attack my province.

Note – I think the trade was very useful because the settlement I got was part of my ally's province, and not much value to me. Otherwise, it would have been a better idea to march home to avoid destruction of one of my settlements that cost me much to build up. This would then cost me more time to recover, and go back to attack that original enemy who is more mustered up. So it's a good thing to have ways to kill two stones with one bird. It's because of this game design that scenarios like this even exist, for the benefit of implementing these types of strategic plays that occur all the time.

Lesson 5: Understand supply lines, and why it's part of the design. Each time you add a hero, there is a huge value in their ability to field an additional mobile army. However, this is balanced out by supply lines which increases the upkeep salaries of all units in all armies. So not only will the upkeep salary of that hero need to be considered. The upkeep increase of all units will need to be factored in as a total cost per turn when considering an additional hero. This is why each additional hero/army will impose a greater expense per turn.

This is important for the highly individualized playstyles of each faction. Hector is less concerned with fielding additional armies. And more concerned about building up quality units. Aneas has really great incentive and cost effectiveness to actually field more armies of dirt cheap light units. Supply lines affect the various bonuses and unique playstyles of each faction in different ways.

Likewise, the game isn’t really designed for use of personal army to fight on multiple fronts. It might be fine to setup a backup army to assist allies. However, it’s generally a good idea to keep your armies fairly close together without spreading them too thin. As such, you're typically fighting with all your units together. Each unit slot is quite valuable, so that careful consideration goes into how you’re setting up your personal armies to synergize with one another.

Supply lines is part of how this game can punish you if not paying attention to anything about how Troy campaigns are designed. As such, complaints come up once in awhile from users getting punished for what they are doing, while blaming it on a problem with the game (notably supply lines). So here's more information about that: The Importance of Supply Lines

Lesson 6: Use Divine Will diversely, and to your faction's advantage. The benefit of Divine Will is that each deity offers buffs for specific situations. You can do one prayer per turn. And one hecatomb every five turns. There are a few things to go over here.

Firstly, the great thing about Divine Will is that the deities offer specific buffs that cater to specific circumstances. Defending your settlement getting besieged? Check Hera. Sieging an enemy settlement? Check Poseidon.

Next, certain factions actually have a sort of affinity with certain deities. Therefore, try to figure out which deity might have a significant benefit to your faction. Look over that deity's description, and try to cater your play to that.

For example, if you take a look at Athena, much of her bonuses cater to defensive spear/shield units. This can be very useful for Hector who caters to a defensive playstyle with his special units being spear/shield.

Next, prayers are meant to be used a bit more sparingly. While, it's a good idea to try to cast a Hecatomb every five turns. Prayers have a fee in gold. So even though you can cast one each turn, it's a good idea to use a bit of discretion on these.

When it comes to hecatombs, pay attention to favor thresholds. For example, at default, a hecatomb will grant 70 favor. From 0, this will put you exactly at 70 favor. Therefore, 20 favor above the 50 favor threshold. Since it goes down by 10 per turn, the benefits will actually only last for two turns.

Due to the 5-turn cooldown, it can sometimes be a good idea to cast a hecatomb earlier, rather than on the turn you plan to use its effects. As long as you don't fall below the threshold by the time you need it. This way, the next hecatomb will be available sooner.

Lesson 7: This is just some additional things worth mentioning for Divine Will.

Rushing Zeus temple – This is probably the most recommended Divine Will strategy I've noticed. The idea behind this strategy is to boost his favor to get his higher tier prayers. While continuing to maintain his prayers. While I don't necessarily do this myself, I do typically pray to Zeus on first turn. Simply because the early turns are useful for establishing diplomatic relations. And I do consider Zeus worth using once in awhile for the boost in diplomacies.

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Apollo instant second deity – The idea behind this is to max out Apollo regardless of anything. When you max out Apollo, you can get a Seer. The Seer can then max out a second deity right on the next turn. Then do this again ten turns later. And again. I personally think the Seer might need to be altered to not be this powerful.

Use Aphrodite prayer to help with negative happiness. When happiness dips below -25, a province starts taking a penalty to growth. While it's definitely a good idea to keep happiness in the green for all provinces. Being a bit in the red can still be fine for frontier provinces that you aren't currently working on building up. Since you won't be needing the growth for that province.

When in need, Aphrodite prayer is useful to counteract negative happiness. It also offers some additional growth to counteract any possible depletion. Something also to consider in a newly formed province that is suffering negative happiness, is to combine Aphrodite's hecatomb with Olympic games commandment. As an additional way to counteract those effects. Just be sure to switch to a different commandment when in the green.

In regards to growth, there seems to be some kind of cheese for improving economy by using any means necessary to boost growth. It's based on resource production that imposes a huge penalty to growth. Then, using Divine Will and such to amass as much growth points as possible to offset the penalty. While gaining pop points faster to tier up settlements. Either way, it's definitely not necessary to go out of your way to even worry about considering. Especially, if you're not trying rush through your campaign. Here's more information about that: Troying to Cure Impotence

Lesson 8: Order of royal decrees. Wood to Bronze to Gold to Food to Stone.

An important consideration is happiness and influence. Depending on the faction, you might already start with stone. So it might be a good idea to grab happiness or influence if needed. Or even go stone earlier for this if necessary.

After getting the main five resource decrees, the +30 diplomacy decree is very much worth. It's super good, and makes quite a difference. It's in the gold section, and will cost 400 gold. Afterwards, there's the reduction to production cost and production time. Both in the food section.

Lesson 9: Knowing is half the battle. At the start of a campaign, you can go into your capital settlement's building section, and look over all the units in your roster to get a good idea of your faction's playstyle. While it can help to rtfc the stats for every unit, at least check the info for the units you currently have in your army. And look over the ones you can purchase.

When it comes to infantry, the fastest low tier speed is 48. With 55 speed for higher tier units. The exception here is Amazons, which are all just faster. It is important to take a look at speed in deciding who you want to keep with your frontline, and who you want to send out to flank.

Shields have no effect on melee damage. They specifically reduce ranged damage from the front. Be sure to mouse over the symbol to check the damage reduction.

Don't fire ranged units at anybody facing them with shield. Try to hit unshielded units. Units that can switch their shield to their back will also take less damage from ranged fire from their rear.

Armor reduces base damage, but has no effect on armor piercing damage.

Total damage is calculated by adding base damage and armor piercing damage. When attacking a unit with no armor, the total damage will apply. When attacking an armored unit, the base damage portion will be reduced, but the armor piercing damage portion will apply in full. Armor piercing units tend to do less total damage than similar units without it.

Cycle charging. Units with high charge bonus are most effective when charging. Therefore, not very effective at standing there fighting. Run them into the enemy, and they will deal bonus damage for about ten seconds. Pull them back, and repeat the charge.

Any spear unit will deal bonus damage to chariots and large mythical units.

Spear/shield is the basic defensive unit. Aside from their specific damage bonus, they're not meant to deal much damage. So it's important to have a good idea of how you will damage whoever they're blocking.

Axe units specialize in armor piercing. Send them at defensive enemies with medium or high armor.

Club units specialize in killing light units. Typically, these will be ranged units and light chargers. It's a good idea to send faster 2H clubs at the ranged units. And use slower club/shield units to buffer chargers.

Swords are nice general purpose units for dealing damage, and typically specialize in flanking.

Use expendable shock troops to deplete enemy stamina and bonuses, as well as initiate combat. Expendable means that the unit dying will not impose any morale penalty onto other units. They also tend to cost less resources. They can be used to buffer enemy initial attacks. Or initiate combat by rushing them towards the enemy to wear them down and absorb enemy bonuses. You can then pull these troops out, and move in with your better units to fight the debilitated enemy.

Be sure to get a decent combination of units in your army. Do get four or more ranged units, which are especially good when there are chokes in more confined settlement battles. Frontline tanky units, flank units, damage units. Be sure to cater your unit composition to your faction's unique playstyle.

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Lesson 10: Harness the Total Resource Troy strategic economist advantage. With multiple resources, you can optimize resource production by assessing how much you're gaining in return for what you're initially investing into improving settlements. Including using trade to meet your needs, and even profit. Often, this implies going wide over going high. This means that going for additional growth may end up costing more to hinder your economy than whatever any investment devoted to it may have been worth.

So how to approach growth? It really depends on the tiers of the buildings in a province. At lower tiers, you should be gaining pop points quite often. Pretty much every turn. At higher tiers it may take a few turns to gain enough pop points to upgrade your main buildings. This is fine for two reasons. First, there are other buildings within the province that may need to be built or improved. Second, you should be gaining settlements in other provinces that will pretty much always be more beneficial to invest in at tier 1. And to upgrade to tier two if another slot can be unlocked. But not worry about going beyond this. And especially not investing into trying to get more growth points to do so.

That aside, it's typically not practical to invest resources into production that will take too many turns to recover what you put in. This is based on the value you're putting in to improve a settlement, and the increase in output of that settlement per turn. You can convert every resource into its base value in food. I recently posted a Resource Exchange Rate. This can help when deciding what to spend your resources on. To make the best out of your economy.

Calculate the initial investment cost for building/upgrading resource production.

Calculate how much additional income it will produce per turn.

Calculate how many turns it will take to get back what you initially invested (including those turns it took to build while receiving no additional income). Round up to cover the full amount.

When doing this, you might notice that it can sometimes take a really long to gain back what you initially paid. The following is the calculation for upgrading a Stone Apioka from tier 2 to tier 3 with all default parameters:

Upgrade cost = 2420 wood + 2340 stone + 300 gold

Turns to upgrade = 6

Income increase per turn (high influence) = 69 stone (242 tier 3 – 173 tier 2)

Upgrade cost in food: 7,260 + 9,360 + 7,200 = 23,820

Income increase per turn in food: 276

Turns to get back investment: 23,820/276 + 6 = 92.3 => 93 turns (Rounded up.)

This isn't very lucrative. However, it's important to note that there are all kinds of bonuses to offset construction costs. So what might be horribly expensive in the early game, may be worth considering much later after gaining bonuses from royal decrees and such.

Trade can also be lucrative. Purchasing a resource from a faction that has a surplus of it. You can then turn around, and sell it to a faction that has a deficit.

Even with five resources, there's really not much complication to economic optimization in this game. As you fight, you expand. As you expand, you gain income. Trade resources for what you need. Profit along the way.

All economics aside, you can actually persist quite well even without going so wide or expanding so much. Yes definitely do so at a sufficient pace. But there's no need to get greedy. At all. It's perfectly fine to allow allies to expand. Or even trade away some of your settlements to them.

TLDR: In higher campaign difficulties a bit more care may be needed in doing some of these things to optimize each turn. But really, there's no need to go overboard on anything in this game. Develop good relations, and manage them well. Utilize your units for what they're good for in combat. Enjoy the progression through the campaigns. In many respects, this is definitely among the most enjoyable games out this year.

Bonus Tip: For anybody looking forward to the expansions/DLCs releasing this month. Claim Rocket League on Epic Shop by Oct 23. You don't need to install the game or anything. You will receive a $10 coupon towards any purchase of $14.99 and up. Good until November 1.


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