Combat basics

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Combat in Cossacks 3 is structured very much like a game of rock, paper, and scissors - a very deadly one. The relations between the different kinds of units can be summed up as follows:

Effectiveness[edit | edit source]

Note
This is a high level overview of the relationships that doesn't account for individual units
Unit types Defender
Melee infantry Ranged infantry Cavalry Artillery
Attacker Melee infantry Equal Poor Good Abysmal
Ranged infantry Good Equal Poor Abysmal
Cavalry Poor Excellent Equal Excellent
Artillery Very good Very good Very poor Equal

A couple of notes on the above table:

  • Most infantry units carry polearms of some sort, so the above table reflects that fact - and their efficiency against cavalry. Special units, like Roundshiers, are armed with swords instead and have reduced efficiency against cavalry, but fight better against other infantry.
  • Ranged units are assessed if fighting alone. Proper support increases their efficiency tremendously.
  • Artillery generally should engage other artillery. Just a note.

How to fight[edit | edit source]

Combat in Cossacks 3 requires a grasp of actual military tactics and especially the concept of combined arms. A mixed army allows you to respond to the challenges posed by the enemy effectively and compensates for weaknesses of one type of troop with the advantages of another. Of course, having more bodies than the other guy works well to establish superiority on the battlefield.

In general, the most basic layout of your army should include:

  1. A number of melee infantry in front, to act as a meat shield against incoming enemy infantry and block their approach to your ranged units. Their role is to delay the enemy's advance long enough for your formations of musketeers and other ranged units to slaughter the attackers.
  2. Ranged troops in the second rank. Arranged into line formations, ranged troops can turn the course of most battles. Notably, make sure to watch your eyes, as in the 17th century ranged troops will not attack enemies that are too close, but flee.
  3. Cannons and other artillery in the second rank. Notably, in this position the cannons need to be placed in elevated positions to prevent them from firing into the backs of their own troops (unless you have artillery that fires in an arc, like a bombard). If no such position is present, artillery can be placed in front of the positions to fire on the enemy and withdrawn once they threaten to come into contact.
  4. Cavalry is kept away from the frontline and used for flanking and probing attacks, as well as to attack the enemy artillery and ranged troops before they can cause too much damage. Fast cavalry units excel at wiping out the enemy ranged advantage.

Of course, any strategy requires adapting to local circumstances. Fighting in plains requires deploying additional forces on your flanks to screen your advance and prevent flanking maneuvers from cavalry, while deploying at a choke point can help deny numerical advantage to the enemy. Another wrinkle comes with the entry into the 18th century, when musketeers become capable melee troops and can fight well on their own.

Sieging enemy towns is an altogether different affair, as you can choose to either capture or destroy enemy buildings. In case of heavily defended areas, such as with towers, use bombards over any other artillery, for their range.