Russians/Strategic Overview

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Faction Overview Strategic Overview History
  • Strengths: Wealth not required for heavy cavalry (wealth ramp eliminated), very strong military and cultural bonuses, as well as strong defences, highly variegated skirmisher cavalry element.
  • Weaknesses: Highly reliant on metal for the maintenance of its heavy cavalry and heavy infantry (increased ramp), lack of Centralisation or chivalric orders to stiffen the ranks, awful mid-game navy.

When one surveys the national bonuses, abilities and unique units of Russia, one immediately thinks of one thing: land grab. Russia's cities just do that for you. With 1 level of civic research already accomplished, and the ability to EXPONENTIALLY increase your borders with each round of research, coupled with a near-legendary ability to destroy unprepared opponents by just letting them walk through your territory, your cities can be used as area-denial weapons. Civics research makes cities cheaper, so you have a faster setup than others: once you have built your third settlement on the map, others may still be worrying about the placement of their second one.

Russia suffers from the fact that it does not have access to advanced stable and barracks units, but given how extensive its armies and its fortification bonuses are, it can afford that luxury. Russia however has one weakness: its heavy units require huge amounts of iron, although the ramp costs in food for spearmen/axemen and wealth for cavalry is eliminated. This means that while there is some greater ease in production due to the complex cost structure of Russian heavy infantry and cavalry, this also means however that Russia is highly dependent on mining and metal production, making it harder for Russia to really fortify itself. Russia is all the worse at sea: although it has a very strong navy at the beginning like many "Nordic" nations with the longship, it however does not obtain the Roundship, thus being thoroughly incapable of amphibious combat. Arguably, the best way for Russia to counter this could possibly be to trade its wealth and food savings with the Byzantines for metal, since Byzantine infantry do not consume so much metal but have higher ramp costs in food.

Russia is a metal-heavy civ during the Dark and Castle Ages - ensure you have adequate supplies of metal.

Other cheaper options do exist, however: your Rusiny lancer line, formed down Mongol traditions of horsemanship, can be used in ambush against enemy siege machines. Use the totalitarian or red government upgrades to create a patriot that can protect units from attrition for deep raiding and harassment behind enemy lines. Cavalry archers, which are ranged cavalry units specialising in speed and range to take out Catholic skirmishers and heavy infantry, are also a vital addition. Heavy archers are also available, consisting of wandering bands of hardened mountain men who can stand up against even charges by light cavalry - but be wary of massed infantry rushes (especially by Scotland or Wales, which can be devastating) or your opponents' heavy cavalry and siege weapons. The best strategy would seem that Russian cities must be placed near sources of metal where possible at all times. Russia will be thus constrained in strategy either to go offensive (with unit spam, in an effort to avoid contact with enemy knights) or the defensive (by relying on lighter units backed up by defences). This latter strategy might be best, given Russia's ability to access stronger defensive structures. Gunpowder is thus vital, because of Russia's lack of strong heavy hitters - arquebusiers and cannon can always function in the same manner as a squad of heavy infantry and cavalry in wiping out an enemy - except in some cases, arquebusiers backed up by archers will take a toll on melee cavalry.

Lastly, as an Orthodox power Russia has access to enhanced Imperial Era militia buildings. While you don't really need to be using them at the end of the game with better units, the same can be useful in fending off attackers who take any of your cities, such as the Mongols or the Saracens, whose units are resistant to attrition damage.


Faction summary[edit]

  • In Soviet Russia, Land Conquer You — Use the power of Russia's cities and enhanced attrition damage to expand into your opponent's territories. Played well you should easily turn the tables on opponents like Sweden or China as easily as Yakov Smirnoff turns about subjects and objects in sentences.
  • Heavy Metal — Russia is a metal-heavy civ during the Dark and Castle Ages - ensure you have adequate supplies of metal!
  • Towering Might — As one out of 5 factions with access to the Bastion, Imperial Era games allow for tower rushes. Russia's extensive borders grant it a strong chance to pull off Bastion rushes well. Note that you would not necessarily need as much metal as your druzhinnik heavy cavalry line will have expired.
  • Gates at the Barbarians — Enhanced militia quarters means that "barbaric" nations who get past your attrition fields will find it harder to hold on to your cities, as you pump out militia and citizens from these structures in cities lost to the enemy.
  • Unorthodox Encounters — Of all factions, three stand as potential partners: Venice, the Papal States and Byzantium: although Venice and the Papal States have bonuses in metal production, it might be Byzantium which might be the best ally, since Byzantium needs food, which you can produce well, while you need metal, which is consumed in smaller amounts by Byzantine infantry.

Best age(s):[edit]

Castle Age.

Strategic Overview
Basic gameplay Rise of Chivalry Renovatio Europam