Home › Forums › Strategy Talk › The Royal Battery Battlefield Doctrine
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January 9, 2016 at 05:30 #862
Khoo Bo Yan
Unfortunately this forum seems to be dead, which is a pity since people are still playing the game. I’ll just do one round of brief updates to my posts and will only continue posting comprehensive content if this revives.
PART 1: UNITS
All of the Royal Battery’s units are extremely capable and also extremely expensive. This one is no different. You’re paying the extra 50 points over a standard scout for the Fire Control and Target Tracking abilities, but lose the smoke ability.
#2 Machine Gunner
This units has only two purposes- stopping a blind armoured rush (which you don’t encounter when playing better players), and pinning down expensive units that can’t be destroyed outright (including and especially Turrets). They can also make for expensive cannon fodder in an emergency (better than losing your other units, anyway…). The damage output is very low so you won’t be killing anything with this.
#3 AT Gun
IMO the best anti-tank unit in the game. Insane range, lethality, and concealment, but at the cost of low HP (remember that MLRS can OHKO AT Guns on open ground!). Deadly if used correctly.
Doesn’t need much explanation, but given the particular combination of units in the Royal Battery arsenal, this one is basically for smoke-laying duties.
#5 Heavy Artillery
Essentially a bit more than double the damage output of MLRS for a bit less than double the price. Also as slightly longer range and moves slower on roads. All Royal Battery victories end with a large proliferation of Heavy Artillery pounding the enemy base into dust. Heavy Artillery can also cut down forests in one hit, which makes for some interesting surprise tactics if used correctly.
Part 2: PLAY STYLE
1. Incredibly high damage output, in practice probably the highest of all commanders
2. AT Guns have good concealment, which manages to be a pain in the ass for opponents all on its own
1. Units are expensive, hence few in number, and have low health
2. Heavy reliance on individual units makes losses difficult to absorb
3. Because of point (1) and (2), has to defend a position by spending 600-800 points putting enough units there to fend off minor attacks, where other commanders would simply give up the position, lose ≤300 points’ worth of units, and retake it afterwards with minimal repercussions. Therefore, also very vulnerable to overextension.
4. Scouts are difficult to protect due to absence of smoke ability and the need to constantly spot targets for artillery
5. Because of (1), may have difficulty retaining income
6. Because of all the above, weak early game
The Royal Battery does best on larger, semi-open maps with a large amount of early income that have easily defensible positions and good arcs of fire for their AT Guns. This negates their weaknesses of low numbers and health, and allows them to devastate any dangerous armoured spearheads while building up their forces. I think newer players will be impressed by how quickly a skilled Royal Battery player can demolish a group of tanks and infantry that were unfortunate enough to get spotted on open ground.
The Royal Battery’s play style is simple, but not necessarily predictable. What IS predictable is that the Royal Battery has to focus entirely on building up a decent-sized army and income base to progress to their crushing late game. However, there are any number of ways in which that can be done- apart from setting ambushes, there is still the task of coordinating the actions of multiple units to fit the battlefield situation. Which brings us to the main priorities of a Royal Battery player:
A. Looking at the big picture
When playing as the Royal Battery, one has to get used to looking at the entire map at the same time. The most efficient way to deploy and position artillery is one where a small group of artillery can cover more than one active combat area; that way you don’t run into the issue of having your artillery split up and not always being there where you need them. In this way, you have to allocate artillery fire to different map sectors depending on your overall strategy. In fact, you will at least occasionally benefit from doing something similar with your AT Guns. A lot of calculation is involved when you start factoring in when and where to use the Fire Control ability of your Spotters to boost artillery and AT Gun fire.
Of course, if the map is neatly split into two sectors that are far enough apart such that you need at least two groups of artillery to cover them, then you’ll have to adapt accordingly. But being able to suddenly concentrate fire from multiple locations onto a single combat area to strike a powerful blow is one of the key advantages of having powerful long-range units.
B. Scouting and counter-scouting
Since the Royal Battery depends heavily on units whose effective firing range greatly exceeds their effective vision range, scouting becomes something of an art with this commander. It is very difficult to explain in words exactly how to move your Spotters to achieve a good result, but it should be clear that one must be very familiar with the impact of different types of terrain on unit movement, and the EXACT vision range of Spotters across various terrain. A lot of planning and intelligent risk-taking is required to allocate the action points of your Spotters efficiently, as well as to maintain a steady deployment of Spotters so you don’t have ‘blackout’ periods where all frontline Spotters are lost and your artillery suddenly have no targets to shoot at. Protecting Spotters from enemy fire is also something of an art (since they don’t have their own smoke ability) and requires detailed knowledge of line-of-sight mechanics.
Counter-scouting is equally important since one of the key ways to defeat the Royal Battery is to constantly deplete their front-line infantry (especially AT Guns). This comes in the form of finding and killing enemy scouts or well-placed infantry, as well as positioning units so they don’t get found, or don’t get fired on and destroyed when they are found. In particular, with AT Guns it’s always a balance of hiding them behind one forest square vs putting them right next to open ground so they can spend all 3 action points firing the next turn.
If playing against the Royal Battery is demoralising, it’s because the heavy incoming fire is always coming from units that either can’t be seen or are too far away to retaliate against. Ideally, the only regular casualties of the Royal Battery should be Machine Gunners and Spotters. Machine Gunners are considered relatively expendable, too, which makes it even more frustrating for the opponent since killing Machine Gunners doesn’t stop the incoming fire, and it’s very difficult to ignore them too. A good Royal Battery player positions his units to achieve the above goals wile minimising losses, in a way making the entire game a series of well-executed large-scale ambushes.
D. Other things
(In case it isn’t abundantly clear by now, Royal Battery players need to be extremely meticulous and good at unit positioning.)
To defend a position, the Royal Battery usually needs at least 1 Machine Gunner and 1-2 AT Guns with artillery and/or Spotter support. That’s a LOT of points! Leaving just 1-2 infantry units there is a recipe for disaster as they will be wiped out quickly with no way to retaliate, and if a Spotter gets lost in the process it may not be possible to find the attacking units and return fire. As such the Royal Battery has to be very careful with their decisions to attack, retreat or stay and hold a position; mistakes are often very costly.
Looking at the list of strengths and weaknesses, one might think that the Royal Battery is very difficult to play as. But the damage output really compensates for it all. It punishes impatient players heavily and forces other players to be inordinately careful, which slows them down and gives you time to build up that famous inexorable artillery steamroller.
PART 3: OPPONENT-SPECIFIC STRATEGY
THE ROYAL BATTERY VS 17TH GUARDS
Nothing much in addition to what was mentioned above. Note that AT Guns can take down Medium Tanks in 2 hits if marked with Fire Control, and can kill MLRS in one hit without it. Deal with the infantry using a combination of Machine Gunners and artillery fire. Be cautious and always aim to destroy a sizeable number of enemy forces before rolling the front line forward; haste makes waste.
THE ROYAL BATTERY VS 501ST BULLDOGS
Should be fairly simple; Flamethrowers’ short range makes them very likely to run straight into, and therefore be unable to kill (because of the -1 Action Point) Machine Gunners, as long as you have enough of the latter. The strategy is the same as any other commander would play against the Bulldogs.
THE ROYAL BATTERY VS IRON RAIDERS
The most effective strategy the Raiders have is the light unit rush, since heavy armour will still get demolished by AT Guns no matter how hard they try. Victory with the Royal Battery depends on successful counter-battery fire against Mortar Carriers, since they are the only unit that stops a wall of Machine Gunners completely neutralising the Raiders’ light units. Not that killing Mortar Carriers behind the front line is particularly easy! Armoured Scouts and LAVs are weak enough to kill with artillery alone, which is probably the biggest problem facing the Raiders.
THE ROYAL BATTERY VS MECHANIZED MONGRELS
Probably not a good idea because of the Robot spam tactic. If the opponent doesn’t use that, just use AT Guns against the bulk of his army and keep up the counter-battery fire against Rocket Artillery.
THE ROYAL BATTERY VS 606 SPECIAL FORCES
See my 606 SF guide.
THE ROYAL BATTERY MIRROR MATCH
Essentially a test of patience and whoever is better at killing enemy Spotters.
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