If you do not look at things on a large scale it will be difficult for you to master strategy.
— Miyamoto Musashi, Book of the Five Rings
Without coordination or management, kings will lose their crowns, and the people their heads. Thus, Officers form a vital part of your army. However, Officers are rather hard to come by - they are only obtainable if you have researched a sufficient level of technologies, those technologies being tactics and fortifications. Officers are trained at castles, and will be recruitable from the Castle Age onward once you have researched Fortification and Tactics.
Although costly, slow and unable to attack, Officers can provide crucial support for your troops. Firstly, they are capable of boosting the defence of friendly units within their radius. Next, they are also capable of using four abilities to enhance your tactical position. If garrisoned in settlements or defensive structures, Officers can increase their host building's armour by 2.
Whenever an Officer's ability is used, it will consume a part of the Officer's craft (which replenishes over time). These abilities tend to use a lot of Craft, so use them wisely.
- Entrench: Once completed, units within the Officer's radius will enjoy a threefold increase in their defensive power. If light infantry are entrenched on patches of rocks, this boosts their defence even further. Unlike other abilities, the effects of this ability don't expire until the entrenched units start moving again.
- Forced March: For the duration of this power, units within the Officer's radius will enjoy increased movement speed. The increase is marginal for cavalry, but substantial for infantry and mech units. Forced March can be useful, especially in moving heavy archers, pikemen and siege weapons to close in for the kill.
- Create Decoys: Creates duplicates of units within the radius of the Officer, which will fade over a while, but will appear to other factions with no ability to see hidden units as real units. These units however will expire faster than other units if they encounter attrition.
- Ambush: Cloaks all units within the Officer's radius for the duration of this power. This ability can be used to hide spies and agents that have exhausted their stealth ability.
Weak and unarmoured as they are, officers make prime targets for a variety of units. the most obvious choice are missile cavalry. Next are agents - spies can turn them, while units like Fedayeen, Hashishin, Legates and Ninjas are all adept at killing them. Additionally, the Patriot units summoned from the Senate may well prove to be a superior choice of command unit, but for the fact that you are usually confined to only one patriot per game.
- Command unit, slow, vulnerable to attack and costly, but capable of providing a variety of support functions to your units.
- In addition to boosting unit strength, officers can also use four special abilities to create diversions and enhance units.
- As they are slow and unarmed, Officers make good targets for bribery and assasination, so protect them as much as you can.
Officers can vary in appearance and even the icons for them may change.
- Scholars cameo xtian.jpg
- Scholars cameo jp.jpg
For most of the Middle Ages, most armies were organised along the feudal system (which in itself was a means of furnishing a society ever ready for the task of making war). While there were exceptions to the rule, most commanders of armies were drawn from a feudal aristocracy, with each noble being pledged to raise a certain number of warriors in the service of his lord with his own equipment, archers, and infantry.
Typically feudal armies (as far as Europe was considered) consisted of a core of highly skilled knights and their household troops, mercenaries hired for the time of the campaign and feudal levies fulfilling their feudal obligations, who usually were little more than rabble. They could, however, be efficient in disadvantageous terrain. Towns and cities could also field militias. This decentralised system was necessary due to the social order of the time, but could lead to motley forces with variable training, equipment and abilities. The more resources the noble had access to, the better his troops would typically be.
Planning typically consisted of a council of the war leaders, which could either be the commander laying down a plan or a debate between the different leaders, depending on how much authority the commander possessed. Often decisions were dictated in Mediaeval Europe by the Church and formulated for religious rather than military reasons. This explains for example some of the worst disasters suffered by crusading armies during the Crusades where senior clergy in command of armies routinely ignored advice from seasoned commanders.
As central governments grew in power, the rise of citizen and mercenary armies of the classical period also began, as central levies of the peasantry began to be the central recruiting tool. It is often claimed that the best infantrymen came from the younger sons of free land-owning yeomen, such as the English archers and Swiss pikemen.