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[tutorial] Fighting

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sado1

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Moorbach's Guard

Posts: 1300

Joined: 21 May 2012, 19:13

KaM Skill Level: Skilled

Post 27 Mar 2016, 16:22

[tutorial] Fighting

How to fight like a pro
Welcome to my little tutorial. Let's start with stuff everyone should know already:
1. KaM fights work roughly in rock-paper-scissors (RPS) system: you have anti-horse (pikes/lances) that beats horsemen, who in turn will beat swordmen, who are better against anti-horse. Of course it doesn't always work this way, but you generally shouldn't attack pikes with horses.
1a, Unless the enemy is making a stupid move, and you will be able to kill pikes very quick (for example, when you have your bows nearby and the enemy doesn't). Then it's sometimes a good idea. Proceed with caution.
Similarly, you shouldn't fight with leather troops with enemy who has iron troops. When attacking, you can take advantage of this - try to get your pikes to catch the knights, try to catch pikes/axemen with your swordmen etc.
2. Scouting (discovering the map quickly after peacetime) is essential to know how much your enemy has, and where is his army.
3. Know your numbers. Never attack an enemy when you didn't scout, he will either have much more than you think, or will simply hide something in a place that is ideal for attacking you from the back when the fight starts.
4. If you don't see the enemy, go back to make him move forward a bit, so you can see his army.
5. Use a formation. Never walk with your troops in a "snake" (loose, very long formation) - it is very easy to catch a "snake" army.
6. Do not storm attack. If you have to, do it in formation, but it is generally the worst idea ever. You will lose troops one by one usually.
7. When attacking a line of towers, send militia/bowmen/any cheap units you have first.
8. When scouting, use one knight. Scouting with all your knights is a sure way to lose all your horsemen. This is similar to the "never attack when you don't see the enemy" rule.
9. Keep your bows near your melee. If you advance with your melee too far, you can get caught and you won't be supporting your melee with archers for a few precious seconds. If you advance your bowmen too much, you will get them killed by knights.
10. Split your troops. It's easier to attack or defend with smaller groups. It's especially visible when using bowmen.
11. You usually use first two rows when shooting with bowmen, when pushing (when not in a "big" fight), so you need a wide formation to be able to use them all.
12. "Horse dance" - put knights in front of your bowmen and move them back and forth. This way, the knights will get all shots, and your bowmen will remain unharmed. Knights are fast enough to be able to escape from most of the shots without even being hit, so you can keep dancing for a minute or two. Eventually, they will start dying one by one though, so it's advisable to take the knights back for ~1 minute to let them regenerate their health.
13. "Shoot and go back" - put your bowmen 1 tile forward (to have enemy bowmen in range), wait until they shoot, then immediately move them 1 tile back (before you get shot by enemy arrows). If the enemy isn't looking and doesn't go back in time, he will get a lot of his bowmen killed.
14. Prevent the enemy from scouting if possible. Usually it's done by positioning your troops early.
15. It is a good idea to send sneaky militia attacks into your enemy's base, to kill serfs and destroy the economy. Especially when there's a stalemate and everybody's camping.

While after peacetime and everything is scouted, you're supposed to do three things for most of the time:
1. Harass the enemy by "pushing" (use your bows to shoot enemy bows, or generally to make them move back). "Shoot and go back" is the move you need to use a lot while pushing. Do this no matter how many troops you have. If you have less troops, it's even more important to make the enemy go away from your army/base.
2. Keep looking at your front (where your army is) to prevent enemy's "pushing" - you need to react when he starts pushing, usually by pushing him too.
3. Keep looking at the "whole image" of the game too. You need to be responsible for your team as well. You need to know when they need help, and you need to react too. You need to remember that not all players notice everything. One weak fighter in team being killed is usually gg for the team.

And now a few loose advices:
-Be as annoying as possible. Being active pays off. You should be pushing your enemy most of the time. I've seen a lot of games where the team with twice as many troops lost because they had no initiative, they didn't push, they were scared and they thought they have less army/worse position.
-You need to be a team player. It's most important when you are defending. You shouldn't worry only about your army getting attacked - if your ally gets defeated, you will be next. You need to find a way to block enemy players from attacking your ally 2v1, for example.
-Timing and using the terrain for your advantage is essential. Sometimes you will be able to move your army somewhere and make a 2v1 (you + ally A vs enemy B) situation for a couple of seconds, when the enemy C wants to help but is blocked out of the fight (because of a cliff, or an army standing in his way). This way, you can help defeat one of the enemies, then you can turn around and fight the incoming C army and you again have a 2v1 (you+A vs C) advantage.
-General rule says, "one player covers one enemy". So if "your" enemy moves, you need to know about it and let your team know of it. If he moves towards one of your allies, you usually need to follow him, or else there will be a 2v1 situation soon.
-Don't get pushed into a wall. The enemy will just catch you, or worse, will keep shooting your bows until they're all dead, since you can't escape them. Just push back continously, it will work. Ask a teammate for help when you know it's going to be hard to push the enemy out on your own.
-Look out for enemy making a mistake. The easiest way to win the game is to make the right catch, spotting your enemy in very bad position (for example, surrounded by mountains from his allies' side) so he can't go back, etc. Generally, everything I said you shouldn't do, is something your enemy can do as well ;)
-Sometimes it's a good idea to lure your enemy by making/pretending a small mistake. Be creative ;)
-Make sure you have enough space for your archers. Don't attack/defend somewhere where you know the enemy will be able to shoot and you won't.
-Position your troops well. It's hard to explain everything in one sentence, but generally remember about the fact that it's better to attack from the side, and best to attack from the back. You should always try to surround your enemy between two armies (I call this "making a sandwich", I hope everyone understands why) - you will most likely kill him that way.
-Chasing bowmen with small army of swordmen (or even worse, lancers/axemen/pikemen/scouts) is generally a bad idea, unless the numbers are similar. You will lose a lot of swords before you kill anything. Chasing bowmen with knights is usually easier, as they are faster so they get less shots (and it's hard for bows to escape from them), but they will eventually die too, so you need to be careful. NEVER chase crossbows with small armies of anything, including knights. Crossbowmen are vulnerable to either lots of knights, or... bowmen/crossbowmen.
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Esthlos

User avatar

Knight

Posts: 622

Joined: 23 Jun 2013, 16:02

KaM Skill Level: Beginner

Post 27 Mar 2016, 23:45

Re: [tutorial] Fighting

You know, I've been wondering for some time how would an all-melee build fare against your average human opponent.
On paper it does make sense, and works pretty well vs the AI, but on the other hand...

sado1 wrote:5. Use a formation. Never walk with your troops in a "snake" (loose, very long formation) - it is very easy to catch a "snake" army.

... the AI does this quite a lot.
Just when you think you know something, you have to look at it in another way, even though it may seem silly or wrong. You must try! - John Keating, "Dead Poets Society"
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cmowla

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Sword Fighter

Posts: 360

Joined: 04 Aug 2013, 19:59

KaM Skill Level: Expert

Post 28 Mar 2016, 02:10

Re: [tutorial] Fighting

Speaking of formations, are these replays a good illustration of how things can happen in KaM that goes against the "rock-paper-scissors" idea?

Also, about the snake formation, it can be deadly if you come with it at the correct angle at the right time (especially if your snake formation consists of cavalry). I took advantage of the yellow AI in TSK 20 in the snake formation in my 4m58s win. As a quick parallel, take a look at the orange team bike rider in this Trog Legacy (2010) scene. It works in KaM the same way the majority of the time, especially if it's the correct "rock-paper-scissors" combination.

Good positioning of bowmen (and formations of bowmen) can of course be observed in this replay.

Lastly, I offer my TSK 11 replay for showing how to micromanage a smaller army of range units and infantry versus a larger infantry group. The first few minutes is the part to watch, as the rest is entirely "AI abuse" and is definitely N/A to multiplayer. (Just ignore that I separated the AI sword groups and imagine wanting to save as many lives as possible with your crossbows and few swords.)
Invasion and Lava Valley with 0 losses|Invasion (without saves)|TSK 20 in 4.47 minutes|Northern Islands I Co-op in 1.71 hours
What makes me an Expert isn't my skill in of itself but my desire to win big.
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Tiank

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Knight

Posts: 589

Joined: 15 Sep 2013, 13:11

Location: Poland

KaM Skill Level: Skilled

Post 28 Mar 2016, 18:33

Re: [tutorial] Fighting

Nice work sado! This is really useful :)

sado1 wrote:11. You usually use first two rows when shooting with bowmen, when pushing (when not in a "big" fight), so you need a wide formation to be able to use them all.
It would be nice if you write the number of units in a row (too many would be bad as well, hard to manuever and more vulnerable at sides). Of course, it depends on situation and map, but I think the number should be between 6-10 units in a row, right?

Also, I think this would be useful: http://www.knightsandmerchants.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=493#p6258
The important thing is that attack is different when attacking front to front than attacking unit from it's side.
Without honour, victory is hollow.
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The Dark Lord

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King Karolus Servant

Posts: 2116

Joined: 29 Aug 2007, 22:00

Location: In his dark thunderstormy castle

KaM Skill Level: Veteran

Post 31 Mar 2016, 05:47

Re: [tutorial] Fighting

How to fight like a pro:

Just copy me. :D
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sado1

User avatar

Moorbach's Guard

Posts: 1300

Joined: 21 May 2012, 19:13

KaM Skill Level: Skilled

Post 01 Apr 2016, 12:48

Re: [tutorial] Fighting

@cmowla: I agree about catching with snake, but I believe this is quite tricky and can go horribly wrong. Similar to how I like to use storm attack despite all the things I wrote about it, when you do it right, and with a formation, it's really good and MP players usually don't expect it. But when it goes wrong, you might lose a lot of army.

@Tiank: I deliberately refused to write the exact number (I'd go towards 10-15 wide in most cases) because it differs on the map and I don't want people to think "sado said 10, so I will always use 10, no matter how wide the battlefield is" - people should adapt to the space they have. General rule though - you need to have your bowmen formation at least as wide as your enemy is, otherwise you will lose while you're pushing each other.

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