This guide is written with multiplayer in mind, if you exclusively play single player you shouldn't worry yourself over the nuances of this guide as the AI for this game is horrible. However, if you find yourself getting regularly trashed by veteran players online then this is the guide for you.
Many aspects of NTW landbattles are unintuitive and unrealistic, and you would find that things done in real life don't apply to this game. By reading this guide you will gain a firm understanding of the underlying game mechanics, diversity of tactics and as well as tips on how to utilize different unit types. Once over the learning curve, you will find NTW one of the most tactically deep and thrilling games ever.
This guide is completed but I'm sure there is always more to add, feel free to PM me or comment. Let me know about what clarifications are needed, or content you wish to see. And please rate this guide.
1- Beaten Zone
Firearms win you battles and learning the mechanics behind it is essential. One concept to understand is the beaten zone, which is the elliptical pattern formed by the rounds striking the ground or the target. As most of you know, bullets do not fly in a straight line-- gravity will pull the bullet down until it hits the ground. The location of where a round lands is also affected by wind, skill of the marksman, the gap between the bullet and the internal wall of the barrel, etc. resulting in an elliptical bullet pattern seen below:
This means shooting at an opponent from diferent angles will have an impact on your troop's accuracy. You want to the beaten zone to cover as much of your target as possible to maximize the hit rate.
As seen in the picture above, shooting frontally at a line of troops is the least effective, a good portion of your bullets will land in front of or behind the target. Positioning your troops at an angle get obtain oblique or flanking fire will increase your hitrate.
2- Promixity increases accuracy
The closer you position your infantry to a target, the more likely they are to hit it. Meaning you can grant your regular line infantry devastating accuracy by moving them closely. However in most cases, you don't want to walk your infantry close for a frontal engagement as this applies for your enemy as well-- who will massacre your infantry as they advance closer. Use this for flanking troops who will not suffer return fire. This is also useful for frontal engagements for units with large differences in stats, such as light infantry vs riflemen. A unit of light infantry will defeat a unit of riflemen much faster by being closer.
3- A unit cannot shoot while moving
A unit can only fire when they are stationary, so during a firefight move your ranged units as little as possible. The expection to this is ranged cavalry, which will be discussed in its section.
Formations and unit positioning
1- For infantry use long and thin formations
This has two main advantages. One is firepower. Because only the front rank can fire, having deep formations will rob your unit of firepower. The second is having thin lines presents a smaller target. As explained by the beaten zone, having a deep formation will increase the chance of your opponent hitting your unit. Because of those two reasons, a infantry in a 2 rank deep formation will easily beat a 3 or 4 rank deep formation.
In addition, having thin formations do not impose any major disadvantages. The unit doesn't suffer any morale or melee penalities. A unit of infantry in a 2 rank deep formation will form a infantry square against cavalry with the same speed as a deeper formation. A formation any thinner will slighty increase that time- trading firepower for reaction time against cavalry.
On occassion, however, you will want deep formations for light infantry/riflement for a tactic called the "hammer tactic" which is discussed further in the light infantry and riflemen section.
2- For cavalry use square-like formations
You want your cavalry to be nimble and easily manuverable, having your cavalry in a long line formation will decrease its manuverability.
3- Don't position units too closely infront or behind each other
Positioning units infront or behind each other creates two hazards. One is the friendly fire from the unit positioned in the back (with a few expections discussed later). Two is the increased casualties from enemy volleys because more of your troops are within your opponent's beaten zone.
4- Enable guard mode for ranged units
Guard mode, in practice, doesn't do much in NTW for ranged units. Units with or without guard mode on will chase after a direct targeted units that routs. However, because fire at will should be utilized instead of direct targeting this doesn't mean much other than for melee units. There is an advantage to be in guard mode. If not in guard mode any melee fighting, even one enemy cavalry attacking one infantry-man in the whole unit, will prevent the whole unit from discharging their firearms. Being in guard mode will allow a small portion of the unit to fire, assisting in resisting a melee assault.
1- Fatigue is mainly caused by running and harsh weather
Units are tired by long runs, it's recommended to let your units walk in the opening stages of a battle unless there is a critical location to be secured (i.e. a hill or a chokepoint). Moreover, winter and desert maps will tire out units that don't have specific resistances to them.
Also a glitch causes light infantry and riflemen in "light infantry behavior" to also quickly become tired.
2- Fatigue penalizes melee and morale
Fatigue is a big concern for melee cavalry and melee infantry, their melee combat stats are significantly decreased by being tired. Moreover, tired units will rout faster than fresh ones. Fatigue does not decrease shooting ability however. Thus fatigue is a small worry for ranged units but definitely something to keep an eye on for melee cavalry and melee infantry.
Each odd number of chevrons (i.e. 1,3,5) adds 1 morale to a unit while each even number of chevrons increases the combat stats of the unit. It's often recommended to buy one experience upgrade for cheap units that have low morale.
Micromanagement can be tricky in NTW, especially if you are transitioning from a non-musket era TW game. However, getting a solid grasp in micromanagement is essential if you wish to pull off combat manuvers.
1- Don't practice direct targeting for ranged units
If out of firing range, direct targeting (or right clicking to order an attack) will result in your units advancing far more than neccessary to engage its target, leading to uneccessary casualities. Moreover if in range, direct targeting will often result in your unit reorienting itself to face the targeted unit--- potentially exposing its flank to an enemy or getting in the way of another friendly unit's line of fire. Rather utilize "fire at will", manually move your unit into firing range and let the unit automatically engage.
For melee units, do click attack for targets you wish to engage.
2- To move your units, don't click on the destination-- rather drag and drop
Simply clicking on the destination will often result in your unit ending up facing the wrong way. By dragging and dropping you can move your units while controlling their orientation and formation depth. This fine control is essential to combat and allows you to do things like strafing and performing an "about-face" where your unit will do a 180 turn and face its rear.
3- Group your units.
By grouping units together, you can maintain the relative position and formation depth of your units-- in other words you can control a bunch of units as one large unit. This is a great tool to cut down on micromanagement, especially during the opening moves of the battle where there is a decent distance between you and your opponent's armies. Don't be afraid to break that large group down to smaller ones once the armies start clashing and you want to manuver some units for a flank attack.
4- Use the spacebar
You can preview where your units are going to move to by holding down spacebar (or whatever key you've assigned it to). This is very useful to maintain spatial awareness and preview where your units are traveling to (and their orientation).
5- Unrestricted Camera
I recommend using the unrestricted camera setting where you can zoom as far back as you want to see the entire battlefield. This helps alot with battlefield awareness and helps you manage with army-wide manuvers. The unrestricted camera cannot be setup in-game. Read this link[www.twcenter.net] on how to use it. Note-- once you have followed the instructions in the link, don't open your in-game options tab as it will reset all the settings.
The usage of hotkeys substantially decreases your reaction time. This is especially important for running and square formation. The former is critical in maneuvering and a fraction of a second can mean the difference between your unit receiving a hail of gunfire or not. The latter can mean the difference between your unit warding off a cavalry charge or being slaughtered out of square.
Some other functions to hotkey are stepping forward and stepping backward, as sometimes your unit is only a couple of steps away from being in firing range--- a small nudge will save time and prevent unnecessary movements.
7- Video demonstrating micromanagement
This is a great video demonstrating the basics of micromanagement. Credit goes out to Jmartin. Check out his channel, he has many great tips for NTW.
Line and Elite Infantry
How to use Line and Elite Infantry
1- Line and Elite Infantry should be the core of your army
Line and elite infantry should make a large bulk of your army, as they are the workhorse of your army. With their reload speeds, firepower, and cost-efficiency you can rely on them to punch a hole in your opponent's line or crush their flank while maintaining your own. They are the main ingredient in all successful maneuvers and other unit types operate in support of line and elite infantry. As a rule of thumb they should make up around 50% of units in your army build.
2- Have a balanced ratio of line and elite infantry
In a matchup of 2 regular line infantry vs 1 unit of elite infantry (both cost pretty much the same), the regular line infantry will win. One line infantry unit will fix the elite from the front and the other line unit will shoot accurate flanking fire. Bringing too many elite infantry over cheaper line infantry exposes your army to being outflanked. On the other hand, by bringing no elite infantry you forfeit the ability to quickly exploit vulnerable sections of your opponent's army (i.e. a line infantry that has had their firearms disrupted). Bring a balanced mix, a good rule of thumb is to bring one unit of elite for every 3 line infantry.
3- When in doubt, shoot it out
There are very specific instances of when it might be advantageous to commit to a bayonet charge, but for most instances you should just let your infantry fire away. The killing rate of a melee never overpaces shooting volleys and in most cases, going in for a charge only serves to allow your opponent to serve devastating close ranged shots. Even infantry who have expended all of its ammunition is often better used as a meatshield.
One such expection is charging with flanking elite or Russian infantry (who have high charge statistics) into wavering enemy infantry will cause them to immediately rout.
4- Don't use fire and advance
It reduces the range of your unit and while it allows all of your ranks to fire, it substantially slows down the firing rate of your infantry. Needless to say, don't use it.
5- Square formation is effective against cavalry and infantry melee assault, but avoid forming squares too early
The square formation is very effective against cavalry charges and melee infantry charges and will allow your infantry to easily thwart those incursions. However, it is important to know that combat bonus against those units is applied before your infantry is visually in the square formation. It takes less than half a second between the command and for the bonus to apply.
It's advantageous to form square at the last moment for several reasons, one is that decent players will usually stop a cavalry charge if they see a square being formed, two is that you could trick your opponent into thinking you were not paying attention before letting them impale their cavalry upon your square, three is because often times your opponent wants you to go into square formation to give their infantry an advantage (See "firearms disruption" explained in detail in the melee cavalry section) and finally four is that infantry in square formation have little firepower-- because infantry can quickly form into a square its often advantageous to let your infantry fire off a volley at the charging enemy before quickly forming a square. That way the charging unit will be depleted by the time they get into melee range.
6- Infantry in square formation have extra long range
A glitch gives line and elite infantry in square formation substainally longer musket range, approximately the same range as riflemen. This doesn't have much practical applicability as the number of men firing is few and you risk being rushed by opposing infantry while in square formation. However this glitch does have a niche role, in a very close end game where any advantage is welcome you can form square to shoot at opposing forces outside of your normal range and deal a few casualities. If the enemy approaches quickly get out of square.
7- Fortify houses with one unit of elite infantry
Only a few men can shoot from the windows in houses and cannot produce much firepower, thus placing many line or light infantry into a house is a wasteful proposition. One elite infantry unit is enough to occupy a house. An elite infantry unit situated in a house is difficult to displace, an opponent can expect to burn through twice or even three times as many men to capture the house.
How to counter line and elite infantry
1- Light Infantry
The longer ranged light infantry with the right micromanagment can absolutely devastate line/elite infantry. See the light infantry section about kiting.
2- Line and elite infantry in conjunction with cavalry or militia
You can use cavalry to disrupt the opposing infantry's firearms and then move in your infantry to unleash lethal volleys. See the cavalry section for more detail on firearms disruption.
Militia can be utilized as a meatshield to soak up enemy fire while moving in friendly infantry to fire away.
The close formations of line/elite infantry make for ripe targets for artillery. Target elite infantry first, they die just as easily as line infantry.
Militia and Grenadiers
How to use Militia
1- Use them as meatshields
Militia are cheap and its main use is to draw the enemy's fire so that the more valuable units are not targeted. This is very useful to move in your other units into firing range unscathed and potentially lets your unit gain a significant advantage in the shootout. For example, imagine a scenario of of your line infantry plus a unit of militia squaring off against an enemy unit of line infantry. You should first move in your militia into the enemy's firing range to absorb the incoming fire and then subsequently move in your line infantry to get the first shots on your opponent and gain a significant advantage.
2- With general's morale boost, militia can be a poor man's line infantry
Militia can hold part of your line for a decent amount of time with a general nearby to boost morale. They can be used to fix an enemy unit while you move in with another unit to flank. They can also be used to protect your light/line/elite infantry and riflemen from cavalry. Place your militia behind the unit you want to protect and they will shoot up the enemy cavalry while they are engaged with the unit in front.
How to counter Militia
Militia cannot form squares, and combined with their weak combat stats a cavalry charge will dispatch them quickly. And you should preferably charge in from the flanks so your cavalry will not take a volley.
2- Anything else
Any concentrated attack on a unit of Militia will rout them quickly.
Don't use grenadiers
Grenadiers are some of the least cost effective units in the game. They are basically like regular infantry expect they have substantially less men per unit than regular line infantry, decreasing their firepower. They have good melee stats but its advantages are limited because of their unit size. And the grenades they can toss has a very short range and doesn't cause much damage that other units could inflict by simply shooting volleys. Save the money and spend it on other things.
Light Infantry and Riflemen
How to use Light Infantry and Riflemen.
1- Use Light Infantry Behavior
Utilizing this option allows you unit to adopt a loose formation and confers several advantages. First is that your unit is less likely to be hit by incoming fire, second is that every man in the unit is able to shoot simultaneously, third is that the loose formation helps dampen a cavalry charge (your unit will suffer less casualities as a result of a charge) and fourth is that the unit crouches in loose formation and you can position other units behind your light infantry/riflemen to shoot over them without inflicting friendly fire.
2- Light Infantry are better than Riflemen.
Having trouble deciding between light infantry or riflemen? Go with light infantry. While riflemen have longer range, light infantry have more men, much better reload speeds and comparable accuracy. Moreover light infantry are cheaper than riflemen. This means that light infantry are more cost efficient and can put out more bullets faster (at comparable accuracy) than riflemen. Light infantry can eat a first volley from riflemen and still win a head on firefight. Moreover, some of the faction's light infantry's shooting stats are on par with regular line infantry.
Riflemen, however, do have niche roles. In chokepoint maps like Ligny they can be used to harrass the enemy without reprisal.
3- Range mismatches and Kiting
When using light infantry and riflemen, be on the lookout for range mismatches where your unit outranges an enemy unit. You can exploit those situations by shooting at the opponent from a distance where they can't return fire. For example, light infantry shooting unreciprocated at line infantry from a distance.
Kiting in the context of NTW is retreating your longer ranged light infantry or riflemen before your opponent can move his shorter ranged line or elite infantry into firing range. This makes full use of light infantry and riflemen's range advantage. The best way to do this is to move your long ranged infantry immediately after your unit has fired its first volley. This means you can prevent your opponent from firing upon you while you can unleash deadly volleys on him.
4- Use light infantry/riflemen in conjunction with line and elite infantry to create concentrated points of fire.
As stated in point 1, while utilizing "light infantry behavior" light infantry/riflement crouch and can be fired over. Placing line/elite infantry behind your lights will create points of heavy firepower that can quickly punch a hole in your opponent's line.
However doing this brings several drawbacks. To allow both of your stacked units to be within firing range, the light infantry/riflemen in front has to be positioned fairly closely to the target. The proximity increases the time you have to move into position while being shot at close range. Moreover you are placing more units into your opponent's beaten zone thus allowing your opponent to inflict even more casualities upon you.
And this positioning can be rendered useless if your opponent moves his unit back out of the firing range of your infantry unit in the back. Thus stacking units up like this is not reccommended for frontal engagements unless your opponent has a severly depleted unit. Rather this formation is recommended for attacks on your enemy's flanks where they cannot shoot back at you.
4- Light Infantry are overpowered.
There is a reason why multiplayer game rules commonly limit a maximum of 5 Light Infantry, they are incredibly powerful. Points 1 through 3 make for a unit type that can outshoot line infantry while suffering relatively small or even no casualties.
5- Stakes block bullets and cavalry.
In addition to impaling enemy cavalry, stakes will block your enemy's bullets and your own. Now this won't enable your riflemen to win in a firefight against light infantry but will help them stay alive longer. In addition you can use those same stakes to keep weaker line infantry in the battle longer.
6- If threat of cavalry is present, protect your light infantry/riflemen with line infantry
Position line infantry behind light infantry/riflemen. Position your light infantry/riflemen so that the units is barely covered by the firing arc of the line infantry. Your line infantry will shoot any enemy cavalry should they come into contact with your light infantry/riflemen and quickly dispatch them and will be far back enough that the line infantry will be outside your enemy's beaten zone.
Also, don't use elite infantry for this role. They are better used elsewhere. Furthermore should your opponent lack cavalry, you don't need such protection and you can free up that supporting line infantry.
7- Hammer Tactic
The hammer tactic basically takes advantage of the fact that light infantry/riflemen in loose formation allows every man to shoot no matter how far back in the formation he is. Thus instead of forming a line as long as possible, place your light infantry/riflemen into deep formations like the screenshot below:
This allows you to concentrate your light infantry/riflemen firepower into small areas allowing you to quickly rout an enemy unit. Unforunately, this brings several drawbacks. One such disadvantage is that you are placing more of your assets in your opponent's beaten zone, causing you to take increased casualities. Two is that a large close-kint group is more vulnerable to flanking, meatshielding and cavalry who can quickly disrupt all of your units.
Moreover concentrating all or most of your light infantry assets in one area makes you vulnerable in other parts of your army, allowing your opponent to avoid your light infantry/riflemen while your opponents uses his long ranged units to attack other parts of your army with impunity. In summary, the hammer tactic is vulnerable to maneuver. Thus the hammer tactic is only recommended for terrain maps and team games where mobility is limited.
8- Don't use skirmish mode
For whatever reason it wasn't properly coded for this game and is essentially a broken feature. Your units will not flee in time, and you will be better off manually retreating your unit.
9- Extra long light infantry or riflemen
A glitch allows you to stretch out your light infantry and riflemen into super long lines. First, stretch out the unit as long as possible in close formation as per the picture below:
Second, activate the light infantry behavior and you wil achieve a line that is abnormally long:
The advantages of an extra long line is that the unit is a smaller target and is harder to hit with gunfire, and thus will stay live longer in a firefight. However this comes at the cost of maneuver. One problem is that trying to move the extra long unit individually will cause the formation to revert back to its normal maximum length. You can prevent that from occurring by grouping the extra long unit with other units and then moving the whole group.
All in all, trying to maintain a unit in this extra long formation will hamper with micromanagement as it will be tricker to adjust positioning and orientation. In addition it's impossible to concentrate fire into a particular location with a formation♥♥♥♥♥♥long. Thus it's only recommended to do this for weaker riflemen or light infantry (such as France's voltigeurs) and let them act as a fixing force so you can maneuver your other forces for an attack.
Light Infantry and Riflemen Part 2
How to Counter Light Infantry and Riflemen.
This is not as straightforward as it sounds. Do a frontal charge with cavalry and the light infantry will shoot your cavalry up before you get there. Moreover light infantry have good melee abilities to mop up any remaining cavalry. Thus it is best to attack from the sides or while the light infantry is reloading. It's better it follow up the charge with shooting infantry. Also cavalry will prevent them from kiting.
2- Line/Elite Infantry
Regular infantry will outshoot riflemen and prove a sizable match for light infantry. A good way to utilize line infantry is to engage the opposing long ranged units with your own or a meatshield and then move your line infantry into range for support.
If the opposing light infantry is kiting, an effective method to deal with them is to move your line infantry to the exact location where the enemy was last. Should the opposing troops continue retreating, they will be shot in the back.
3- Meatshield and Light/Line/Elite Infantry
Use meatshield to draw fire and then move in your forces to attack.
4- Don't use artillery
Units in loose formation are hard targets to hit. Your time is better spent targeting other things.
How to use melee cavalry
1- Melee cavalry is a support unit
Melee cavalry cannot win battles by themselves as cavalry will never beat an infantry square and are very vulnerable to musket and artilery fire. This means you shouldn't bring too many cavalry in your army (4 is generally enough), however cavalry when properly used in conjunction with other units will prove a decisive factor in battles. It's important to note that cavalry is least effective in chokepoint maps, so act accordingly.
2- Firearms disruption
One of the most useful purposes of cavalry is their ability to impose firearms disruption, meaning they can rob or hamper an opposing infantry's ability to fire their weapons. One way is to force opposing line/elite infantry into a square formation with a real/feint charge, this causes the enemy's total firepower output to be significantly decreased. Second way is to initiate melee with the opposing infantry, as once a unit is in melee most of the unit cannot fire.
Disrupting the enemy's use of firearms opens up many opportunities for your own infantry. Here are a couple example scenarios:
1) You and your opponent's infantry are sitting a short distance outside each other's firing range. You can send in your cavalry at the enemy for firearms disruption, then while your enemy is unable to fire move in your infantry into firing range to get the first volley and subsequent volleys without return fire. Moreover if the enemy infantry got into square formation, then the enemy infantry has presented itself as a ripe musketry target and will increase your infantry's accuracy.
2) You and your opponent's infantry are already in the middle of a firefight. You can then send in your cavalry to hasten the defeat of the opposition, lessen your casualities or turn around a losing engagement.
It is worth noting that cavalry do not last long against infantry in square formation, and your infantry will need to move in fast to take advantage of the situation. Cavalry used to perform firearms disruption should avoid getting shot mid-charge, meaning you should charge from the flanks, rear or while the opposition is reloading. In summary, firearms disruption should be followed up with an infantry push.
3- Chase routing foes.
Routing units have a tendency to come back into battle while units that are "broken" will not. If routing units are attacked while they are fleeing they will be broken, and cavalry's mobility is perfect for the job. Moreover the size of the unit attacking the fleeing unit doesn't really matter, consider using depleted cavalry units for this role.
4- Melee cavalry is very lethal to everything that is not in square formation.
Cavalry are very lethal to units that cannot form a square or even line infantry that where caught out of square. This means cavalry will make short work of artilery and light infantry/riflemen, just make sure to charge from the flanks or rear to avoid getting shot. Cavalry can be used to probe your opponent's attentiveness, especially if you initiate charges on multiple sections of his army simultaneously you could catch your opponent off guard.
Moreover, line infantry already in melee cannot form squares, thus should you use your own infantry to initiate melee you could use the opportunity to charge the backs of the enemy with your cavalry for an old fashioned hammer and anvil. Another important fact is that line infantry at 40 men or below cannot form squares and are very vulnerable to cavalry.
5- Lancers are the best type of melee cavalry
Not only are they cheap, but they will easily chew up even expensive heavy cavalry and absolutely annihilate light cavalry on a good charge. Because lancer's melee stats are usually quite poor, they require a bit of micromanagement as you must pull away your lancers immediately after a charge, and run a distance before re-charging-- in other words cycle charging.
6- Ensure distance between multiple melee cavalry units charging together
Don't blob up your cavalry, not only will they interfer with each other's charge you will also waste manpower and open your cavalry up to be surrounded.
6- Don't buy dragoons with the intention of dismounting
Dismounting dragoons is making an otherwise useful cavalry unit into a useless and overpriced infantry unit. Dismounted dragoons, with so few men, cannot muster much firepower. They can even be beaten by opposing militia whereas mounted dragoons would have. Compounding their problems is that they cannot form square and are extremely vulnerable to other cavalry. Dismounted dragoons do not have much tactical applicability, even for quickly grabbing hills and chokepoints, as they are weak and vulnerable. Keep your dragoons mounted.
7- Don't use the diamond formation
Another improperly coded feature of the game, it decreases the lethality of your cavalry's charge and doesn't confer any bonus manuverability advantages over a regular square-like cavalry formation. In summary, don't use it.
How to counter melee cavalry
1- Infantry squares
Infantry squares are basically invulnerable to cavalry. If your opponent is foolish enough to attack with cavalry unsupported, then squares will make short work of them. However, competent players will not charge into already formed squares, thus forming squares at the last minute could trick your opponent into thinking you've been careless.
Moreover, you can lasso enemy cavalry into your squares by getting them to charge your cavalry or light infantry and order your units to run through the square. As the enemy's cavalry chases your unit, your unit will run through the square while your enemy will get caught on the infantry square.
If your opponent is using suported cavalry in a firearms denial fashion, you can respond by counter-charging with your own cavalry and get your infantry out of square formation as soon as possible. Or you can use your cavalry to impose firearms denial to the opponent's supporting infantry to prevent them from shooting at your square.
You can lasso enemy cavalry into range of your light or line infantry to be shot at. Or you can occupy enemy cavalry with your own while you move your infantry into firing range to shoot lethal volleys. Cavalry is very vulnerable to musket fire and moving in ranged infantry support can be very effective if you are outnumbered in the cavalry department.
3- Reserve units
Placing a unit of infantry behind another will protect the unit in front from cavalry. If the opposing cavalry charges the unit in front, they will receive a hail of gunfire from the unit in the back.
Pretty self explanatory, but most competent players will avoid throwing their cavalry upon them. Thus you should use spikes to deny areas, such as beyond your flanks to prevent your opponent from sending calvary around your sides. This potentially forces them to commit to a sucidal frontal charge.
However, you can goad your opponent to run into your spikes. An important fact to know is that your stakes do not hurt your own (or your allies') cavalry thus it is you can order your cavalry to engage the enemy's cavalry and then order your cavalry to run through your spikes while hoping the enemy cavalry pursues.
The large profile of horses makes them ripe targets for all types of artillery. Prioritize the targetting of cavalry.
How to use Ranged Cavalry
1- Similar role is similar to melee cavalry
Think of ranged cavalry as long ranged lancers, instead of a delivering a devastating charge they can unleash a deadly volley from horseback. Like lancers, most of the time, they shouldn't be kept in melee. Rather they should maintain a distance between themselves and the target and shoot from afar. They can, however, be committed into melee for firearms disruption and chasing routing foes. And like melee cavalry, ranged cavalry cannot win battles by themselves.
2- Micromanagement heavy
To utilize ranged cavalry effectively requires a large amount of micromanagement. Between maintaining unit distance and directional positioning, they can be a challenge to manage. It takes a fair amount of practice to be proficient with ranged cavalry. If you're not comfortable with large burden of micromanagement, it might be a better idea to bring the less micromanagement intensive lancers instead.
3- Can shoot while charging
Ranged cavalry can shoot while moving. This means they can charge at the enemy, fire a volley mid-gallop and then immediately follow through with the charge. The combination can be absolutely devastating to enemy cavalry units, the initial volley can take out half of the opposing unit while the charge will cause the morale shocked unit to rout.
However, ranged cavalry shooting while moving is a highly variable affair. Ranged cavalry have a relatively long aiming and shooting animation that is easily disrupted if the target changes directions or if you change the orientation of your ranged cavalry. If the animation is disrupted, your ranged cavalry will not fire off a volley before going into melee. To ensure that your ranged cavalry will fire on the move, aim for stationary enemy cavalry and try not to adjust directions mid-charge.
Should everything go as planned, ranged cavalry can make short work of even expensive heavy cavalry.
4- Able to shoot over infantry
Similar to how line and elite infantry are able to shoot over light infantry, ranged cavalry are elevated and can shoot over friendly light, and line and elite infantry without friendly fire. Use this in the same way as you would pairing up light infantry and line infantry.
Placing ranged cavalry behind your infantry can create areas of heavy firepower that can help drill a hole in your opponent's line. The drawbacks, like light and line infantry pairing, are many. One is that the formation would need to be positioned fairly closely to the target so that the cavalry unit in the back is within firing range. This exposes your units to lethal close ranged fire as you position your units closer, and potentially even more casualities if your opponent decides to back up his unit outside the firing range of your cavalry in the back. And because cavalry are large targets, you are placing a large amount of mass into your enemy's beaten zone costing you even greater casualities.
Thus, placing ranged cavalry behind line infantry is not recommended for frontal engagements. Rather this pairing has the greatest utility for flanking where return fire is not expected.
5- All ranks are able to fire simultaneously
Like light infantry/riflemen in loose formation, an entire unit of ranged cavalry is able to fire simultaneously no matter how far back an individual is. Thus ranged cavalry are able to maintain firepower in a nimble square-like formation.
6- Act as support
Ranged cavalry can act as reserve against enemy cavalry. They can provide fire support to a nearby cavalry vs cavalry engagment and allow you to quickly rout the opposing side. They can also be placed behind your line infantry to help them ward off cavalry strikes.
With good micromanagement they can even act as anti-cavalry support for light infantry/riflemen.
7- Deadly feint charge
One of shooter cavalry's most effective tactics is the deadly feint charge. For example, against opposing line infantry: This first involves ordering a charge at your target (making them believe you are going to commit into melee). Should your opponent's infantry unit form a square, halt your charge within shooting range, fire off a volley and then retreat. If the enemy line infantry didn't form a square, then change the feint charge to become a real one. Allow your ranged cavalry to fire a volley and then deliver a punishing charge. This works best charging from the rear or flanks.
You can do this with or without supporting infantry. If you do this without supporting infantry, this tactic can harrass and disorganize your opponent's line. With supporting infantry, this also functions in a firearms disruption manner.
How to counter Ranged Cavalry
1- Similar to countering Melee Cavalry
Ranged cavalry, like their melee counterparts, are vulnerable to the same things: artillery, musket fire, stakes and if the ranged cavalry go into melee: infantry squares and reserve units. However, there are several ranged cavalry specific tips.
2- Melee Cavalry
One sure way to dispatch shooter cavalry is to attack them with melee cavalry from the sides or rear. Another method is a frontal charge but juking and suddenly changing direction to disrupt the ranged cavalry's aforementioned aiming animation and your melee cavalry will land a charge unscathed. This does require practice to get the timing right.
2- Line and Elite Infantry
Relative to line and elite infantry, ranged cavalry produce a small amount of firepower and are more vulnerable to musket fire. Don't be afraid to take a first volley from the ranged cavalry to move into firing range, ranged cavalry will get decimated in a firefight with line/elite infantry.
How to use Artillery.
1- Artillery is a support unit
Artillery cannot win battles by themselves. The rate at which they inflict casualities is far less compared to other unit types and they have low maneuverability which leads them to struggle to adapt to changing battlefield conditions. Artillery, on many maps, is an optional asset.
2- Limit the use of artillery on open and flat maps that favor maneuver.
Artillery assets on flat maps are easy to out-maneuver and nullify. Your opponent can easily approach your artillery pieces from outside of your firing arc and take advantage of the fact that artillery are slow to reposition. Moreover bringing more artillery leaves you more vulnerable to flanking as you have less infantry/cavalry to support your battle line. Moreover, you have to leave many supporting forces protect your artillery. This ultimately forces you to be more defensive and static which spells doom on flat maps.
Horse artillery does a better job of keeping up with a highly mobile army and can fortify a weak flank with canister fire, however given the long limbering and unlimbering time a quick opponent can nullify that asset.
3- Artillery is a deciding factor in choke point maps and some terrain maps.
Artillery's long range barrage can force an opponent to make tactically costly decisions on a map full of chokepoints. These bottlenecks are bad news for anyone trying to cross it as any bottleneck can be easily contained with a few friendly units which can hold down much larger opposing forces trying to cross it. If you have the artillery superiority you can force them to cross first.
Moreover artillery allows you to devastate enemy situated ontop of a hill, giving them the choice of either slowly dying on top of that hill or forcing them to come down and fighting you on your terms. Conversely, it can force an opponent to assault a strongly fortified hill.
4- When the enemy is at a distance away focus fire and aim for densely packed units.
When your opponent is at a distance away, focusing the fire of your artilery on one unit is better than spreading the hurt on multiple units. It's a good idea to turn off fire at will and manually pick the target you wish to target. In addition, be on the lookout for enemy units in close proximity to each other as you should try to pack as many enemy units in your artillery's beaten zone as possible. Cavalry also presents itself as a large target. If the opponent has artillery, you should try and take those out first to minimize counter fire.
5- When the enemy is at a close distance and spread the artillery fire around and lower morale.
Once the enemy has approached into infantry firearms range artillery is better used to lower morale rather than to cause casualties because the lethality of artillery is relatively low. Utilize artillery fire to achieve local superiority in engagements. For example, target enemy infantry that is being flanked by your other forces to rout them faster, or support an evenly matched engagment to gain the upper hand.
6- Don't use fixed artillery.
While fixed artillery like rockets have incredible range, the accuracy is terrible and you'll have a hard time scoring kills with it. In addition, in cannot be moved and it makes your army more inflexible against changing battlefield situations. The money is better spent elsewhere.
However, fixed artillery do have niche roles on chokepoint maps, they can outrange opposing artillery and thus can force an opponent to cross the chokepoint first.
7- Manually target the enemy
Howitzers tend to under-shoot the designated target when you automatically target an enemy unit, it's often better to manually target the ground behind the intended target for better accuracy. See the following pictures for an detailed illustration. The credit goes to feanor68. Source[www.twcenter.net]
It's best to manually target if your target is stationary. If your target is moving, it's better to automatically target an enemy unit.
8- Howitzers are the most versatile type of Artillery
Howitzers are able to shoot in an arc, over obstacles and your own troops. And the exploding shells are more effective against infantry and cavalry. Direct fire artillery such as cannons are more effective against opposing artillery, however they are very limited by uneven terrain. Furthermore, howitzers are easier to protect as you can place units in front of it without fear of friendly shells. You can even hide howitzers behind hills to protect it from cannon fire. Bring Howitzers, they give you greater tactical flexibility.
9- Use canister shot for close ranged engagements
Canister fire is the most deadly ammunition in an artillery unit's arsenal, they will quickly decimiate any opposing unit that lingers in its range. Canister fire is excellent at holding back opponents attacking your hill or crossing your chokepoint. If you are using canister fire on flat terrain, try to guard your artillery crews from rushing infantry or cavalry-- in general hold your opponent at bay for as long as possible while your canister fire whittles them down.
10- Demolish houses
Use artillery to demolish houses that have been occupied by the enemy and save yourself the time and casualties from having to send in infantry.
11- Horse artillery meatshield
A poorly implemented game feature gives limbered artillery roughly 50 hitpoints, meaning limbered artillery is very resilient against musket fire and counter artillery fire. Thus horse artillery can play a role very similar to militia by acting as a very sturdy and fast meatshield. However, horse artillery is still very vulnerable to melee. You can rout one quickly by sending a unit in melee.
How to counter artillery.
Artillery is defenseless against cavalry, with small unit sizes they can be quickly routed by cavalry. If you find an unprotected crew, charge from the sides, rear, or inbetween the long reload times.to prevent casualities. If you find artillery supported by other infantry units, you can approach the situation in a firearms disruption fashion. Engaging artillery in melee will cause the artilery crew to release their guns and prevent them from firing, thus you can charge your cavalry in to disrupt and then move in your infantry to clean up. Or if the situation warrants it, you can occupy the enemy's supporting infantry with your own and then move in your cavalry for a quick kill.
2- Milita and Line Infantry
Canister fire is threat that needs to be nullified as quickly as possible. Besides using cavalry for firearms disruption, you could use militia. Charge your militia in for melee to disrupt and then use your line infantry to engage in musket fire.
If the enemy's artillery pieces are in range, concentrate artillery on them unit by unit to take them out of battle quickly.
1- Losing your general deals a harsh morale penalty
Keep your general safe. If you lose your general in the middle of a pitched battle, your whole army could chain rout. The morale penalities are huge but fortunately only last for approximately 1 and half minutes. So if your general dies at a bad time, retreat your army and play for time until those penalities are gone. On the flip side, don't aim to kill the enemy general as soon as possible. It may be advantageous to deal that blow at a critical time during the battle.
2- Bring your general to support trouble spots in your army
Run your general to areas that are taking a beating, for example use your general to support your weak flank under attack by an enemy's strong flank. Also generals are useful to offset the morale penalty dealt by France's old guard. The inspire ability can boost your troop's morale in a pinch.
3- No more than 3 stars
It's not worth the money to get a general that has more than 3 stars. The price doesn't justify fewer units and being outnumbered by the enemy. Generally, a one star general will suffice.
4- Using no general is viable
Using line infantry as the general of your army instead of a proper general unit is a viable alternative. Doing so saves money and makes for a general that is hardy against all units. You can offset the decrease of overall morale by positioning elite infantry to bolster units outside the range of your general. The downside is that you will lose flexibility to deal with unexpected and strong enemy attacks because you will not have either the inspire or rally special ability.
Using elite infantry as your general is not recommended as you want to commit your elite infantry to battle, not let them hang back out of the fray.
5- Rally ability doesn't work for recently routed troops
Don't waste your general's ralley ability on troops that have just routed, wait a short amount of time before trying to rally them.
1- Gain the initiative. Act, don't react
Another way of putting it is that the best defense is a good offense. A good offense forces your opponent to divert attention to defense rather than planning on attacking you. For example, both of you and your opponent have a strong flank and a weak flank, using your strong flank to attack your opponent's weak flank first could prevent your opponent from exploiting your weak flank. Should your opponent grab the initiative, counterattack to disrupt his momentum. The worst thing you can do is to let your army remain static or form a "noob box". Your army will be picked apart by decent players.
Be on the lookout for opportunities to gain the upper hand. Look for and exploit situations like enemy units with low morale, parts of the battle where you have a greater concentration of force, etc. To win, you must maneuver and attack.
2- Achieve local superiority and positional advantage
Gaining local superiority is bringing a larger portion of your own force to efficiently concentrate and engage on a smaller portion of an enemy's army, rather than engaging the bulk of the enemy force all at once. Positional advantage is positioning your army in such a way that allows you to exploit an enemy's weakness while minimizing your weakness such as placing your troops in a flanking position or ontop a hill.
In other words, maximize the strengths of your army while minimizing your opponent's strengths. Doing so will allow a smaller army to beat a larger one. Gain these advantages and exploit it quickly before your opponent can muster support or counterattack. The following are some examples on how to engineer and recognize local superiority and positional advantage:
Numerical superiority- Situation: 5 units vs 3 enemy units on one part the battlefield.
You have local superiority and potentially positional advantage should you fix and flank.
Force concentration- Situation: 3 units vs 5 enemy units, your units are concentrated whereas your opponent's forces are spread out and cannot support each other.
You can gain local superiority by concentrating all three of your line infantry together to defeat your opponent in detail.
Quality troops- Situation: 3 elite units vs 3 regular enemy units, both sides are concentrated.
You have the local superiority as your elite units will outshoot your opponent's regular troops.
Clever positioning- Situation: 3 units vs 3 enemy units, both sides are concentrated.
You can obtain positional advantage by tying up two of his units with one of your's and then concentrate two of your units on one of his.
While you and your opponent both have 2 units concentrating on 1 unit, you have positional advantage because you are shooting accurately from the flanks while your opponent is only shooting from the front (and at your unit that will soon retreat out of range). In other words you have positioned your units in such a way that your opponent is unable to kill your unit while you are able to deal lethal blows to one of your opponent's units.
Cavalry- Situation: 3 units plus a unit a cavalry vs 3 enemy units, both sides are concentrated.
You can quickly win local superiority with your speedy cavalry and you will win the engagement with firearms disruption.
In summary units are strengthened by proximity to supporting units, don't attack your opponent piecemeal. You must use your army as a cohesive force and commit to attacks that are supported and well positioned.
3- Retreat when neccessary
If you find your unit being flanked or in danger of being flanked, your best option is to retreat as demonstrated by the diagram below:
This will force your opponent to reposition his units, buying you time to counter attack his army elsewhere and reorganize your forces. If your opponent has a overwhelming number of forces threatening you flank, considering folding your flank.
Don't make it easy for your opponent to destroy your forces.
4- Attack where you are strong, avoid where you are weak
Don't commit to an attack unless you have (or can quickly obtain) local superiority and positional advantage. Look for weakness in your opponent's formation, or position your army to engineer an advantage. Where your army is weak, avoid battle and bide for time.
5- Utilize terrain
Units on high elevation are more accurate and get a melee bonus. Moreover you can stack line/elite infantry, artilery behind each other on a slope and not suffer friendly fire-- and thus creating deadly fields of fire. You can also position units behind hills to shelter them from incoming musket or artilery fire.
Bottlenecks created by land formations or bridges are also important to exploit, you can bring the entire weight of your fire on units trying to cross the bottleneck while your enemy cannot. Moreover units that have successfully crossed a bottleneck are suspectible to envlopment. You can hold up enemy forces twice the size at the opening of a bottleneck.
You can also hide your forces in forests to create ambushes. It's very devastating to chew up an enemy unit with musket fire as it moves unsuspectingly through the forest. Even if your opponent knows you've hidden a unit at a particular location, it serves as a psychological threat as your opponent will want to check on its location often.
6- Avoid tunnel vision
Don't become too focused on one part of the battle for too long, get used to keeping tabs on various parts of the battlefield at all times. You don't want your left flank to evaporate under enemy attack because you were too busy focusing on your right flank to notice.
A true tactical reserve is not neccessary in NTW as orders are carried out immediately even for troops committed in battle. Reserves in this game function rather as a counter to cavalry and melee infantry, as placing a unit of line infantry behind another will allow the unit in the back to shoot up any calvary/melee charges into the unit in front.
Infantry situated in a straight line is vulnerable to cavalry induced firearms disruption as the enemy can easily run his cavalry up and down your line disrupting all of your infantry. The enemy can then push up his infantry to engage to quickly deal alot of damage to your forces. Placing your infantry in a truncated fashion allows you to quickly kill cavalry that is disrupting your first row infantry.
However, there is a tradeoff for this formation. While you are more protected against cavalry and firearms disruption, should your opponent present his linear line of infantry to shoot at your first row he will have the local advantage as your reserves in the second row will be outside of firing range. You can offset disadvantage by moving your reserves up to form a single solid line after you've dealt with the cavalry. If you can manage the increased micromanagement burden, this can be a very effective formation.
8- Avoid disorganization
When mounting a quick and successful attack, it's easy for your forces to become disorganized and end up having unsupported light infantry, isolated line infantry, and units facing odd directions. This leaves you vulnerable to a counter offensive, so often it's better to keep your forces organized than to overpursue your momentum. The same advice is applicable to your forces that have been heavily damaged by an enemy offensive, which will often leave holes and vulnerable flanks in your army. Retreat and reorganize.
Tactics Part 2
How to get the first volley
Being able to shoot first confers a huge advantage. Between equal units, the unit shooting first will win the firefight. Between unequal units, a weaker unit getting to shoot first evens the playing field. There are several ways to obtain a first volley.
The most obvious way to get a first volley is to wait for your opponent to move into range. Or you can wait for an opportunity where your opponent is shuffling around his army, as units in motion cannot fire either. This method is not recommended, as you are allowing your opponent to seize the initative.
2- Approach from the sides or rear
A unit cannot fire at you if it is not facing you. Even if you cannot fix your enemy's unit from the front you can still exploit that fact and constantly try to outflank your opponent.
Your opponent will be forced to respond by wheeling around his unit and if he fails to respond, then you will get unreciprocated volleys. It's even better to fix your enemy from the front. You can use the threat of a first volley to "fix" an opposing unit without even drawing blood, meanwhile you can move other units to threaten their flank and get the first volley.
3- Firearms disruption
This method is the most recommended as it often not only nets you a first volley but also subsequent volleys without any return fire. An infantry unit that has been forced into a square formation or is occupied in melee cannot produce much firepower. See the cavalry section for more details.
1- Frontal Assault
Only pursuing a frontal assault while eschewing any other manuvering is not recommended. One is that by only committing to a frontal assault you give up local superiority and allow your opponent to utilize his full combat strength against you, resulting in huge casualities for you. Secondly, breaking the enemy from the front not an easy affair, they recieve the least casualities from the front and have a clear line of retreat-- so even relatively weak units are hard to destroy from the front. Third, trying to break through your enemy's center through brute force means that you have placed your best troops in the center and your flanks are very vulnerable as demonstrated by the diagram below:
Even if break through the enemy's center you risk being counterattacked and surrounded. However, a frontal assault can be successful if you have range superiority (i.e. light infantry vs weak/non-existent enemy light infantry/riflemen).
Envlopement is the oldest trick in the book and there is a reason why it is used time and time again--- it's simple yet effective. Envlopement (basically flanking on a bigger scale) is occupying your opponent from the front and then maneuvering units to attack his side or rear. This works for all types of units such as cavalry or line infantry.
This tactical application gives you several advantages, one is that the flanking unit has increased lethality and decreased casualities, two is that units being attacked from the flanks suffer a big morale hit are more suspectible to routing, three is that you limit your opponent's range of movement giving you positional advantage.
Envlopement comes in two flavors, single and double. Single envlopement is easier to manage and usually more feasible as you can concentrate more troops on one flank for the attack. While double envlopement, if you can manage it effectively, is more difficult for your opponent to respond to than single envlopement.
The picture above shows the positional advantage you want to engineer, either through crushing a portion of your opponent's flank to get this positional advantage or manuver. Once this has been achieved continue attacking with the flanking force and roll up your opponent's flank.
If you find yourself facing envlopement, retreat the targeted flank and stage a counterattack on your opponent's flank. I don't recommend sending too many reinforcements to stabilize your flank as it is time consuming and often your opponent has already achieved positional advantage and will chew up incoming reinforcements. It's better to retreat the threatened flank and buy time for a counterattack.
3- Oblique Order
Oblique order is intentionally concentrating your force onto one strong flank at the cost of weakening other parts of your army. You offset the vulnerability of the weak flank by delaying its engagement with the enemy while your strong flank moves ahead to overwhelm the enemy with a withering frontal assault or a single envlopement. This army setup works well with the hammer tactic.
However, this formation is vulnerable to maneuver. A skilled opponent that has spread his army strength evenly to both flanks will avoid your strong flank while attacking your weak flank. Moreover this formation limits your tactical flexibility as your weak flank cannot accomplish much. Thus this formation is recommended for team games or maps where mobility is limited.
Conversely, you can have a decipitively small but strong flank and a large but weak flank. Your opponent could be tricked into thinking the real threat is from your large weak flank and weaken his other flank to reinforce against this "threat". Then attack weakened flank with your small strong flank to gain the decisive advantage.
In addition, you could approach your opponent in an oblique order fashion even if you have spread your forces out evenly. For example, if your opponent has a strong flank you wish to avoid-- move your other flank ahead to first engage and destroy your opponents weak flank.
Dislocation is forcing an enemy to abandon an entrenched position (such as a hill) by threatening to attack another vulnerable section of the opposing force. If they don't send reinforcements they risk the destruction of it. For example on the map Borodino, you can compel your opponents to give up or weaken the hill by concentrating on another section of the enemy's army.
The faction roster is not kind to every nation and there are clearly factions with distinct advantages. There are three tiers of factions and the order in which they are listed within each category and does not denote their superiority.
The best factions
Prussia is arguably the most balanced faction in the entire game. They feature average line infantry, cheap and decent lancers, average artilery, respectable elite infantry, and shine with the best light infantry out of all of the top nations. Prussia is a very versatile faction with the tools to tackle just about anything. To be successful with Prussia, a combined arms approach is needed. Personally my favorite faction.
This faction is a infantry-centric faction. Britain possess light infantry that is only slightly worse than Prussia's, the best regular line infantry out of all of the factions and excellent elite infantry. The faction's major weakness is cavalry, with the rosters lacking any lancers whatsoever, leading to a major disadvantage in open flat maps where you can expect to lose the cavalry on cavalry fight. Britain is a faction suggested for chokepoint maps where cavalry is useless.
This faction is an elite infantry-centric faction, with the powerful old guard being France's greatest asset. While boasting the best combat stats out of any infantry unit, the old guard also has a fear ability that automatically lowers the morale of enemy units nearby. This makes the old guard a deadly flanker who can rout opposing forces very quickly. France's cavalry is expensive but good. France also boast the best ranged cavalry which with good micromanagement is a daunting force to be reckoned with especially when use in conjunction with the old guard. The line infantry is on par with Prussia and plays more for a supporting role for the elite infantry. France's major weakness is light infantry which greatly lags behind the Prussia and Britain, forcing french players to play aggressively.
Ottoman's main strengths are their melee infantry and cavalry roster. Ottomans boasts arguably the best cavalry roster in the game with extremely powerful lancers which not only have good charge but also excel with melee abilities that is on par with heavy calvary. In addition to the lancer threat, Ottoman's also have very capable ranged calvary. Ottoman's cemaat janisseries are affordable and deadly melee infantry, with 3 upgrades they can quickly destroy opposing elite infantry. But they are quick to fatigue, so make sure to conserve their stamina. Ottoman's melee infantry assets makes them uniquely good at taking hills, chokepoints and houses. Ottoman's ranged units are decidely subpar, lacking any sort of elite infantry whatsoever. However, when augmented with melee infantry and cavalry, Ottomans are a force to be reckoned with.
Second tier factions
Russia shines with its special howitzer unit, the unicorn. With superior range, versatility and firepower they will absolutely give you absolute artilery superiority and allow you to control the flow on chokepoint maps. Russia also has a decent cavalry roster that is basically a weaker version of France. That said, the rest of Russia's roster is utterly subpar and cost inefficient. Russia's light infantry and line/elite infantry, for the same price as major factions, have absolutely the worst shooting skills in the entire game and average melee abilities. However the line/elite infantry do have an ace up their sleeve: high charge stats. This however is only useful in certain circumstances such as the end game where both your opponents units are largely depleted and can be routed with a decisive bayonet charge.
Sweden's ranged cavalry is cheap (arguably the most cost effective in the game) and common army builds revolve around it. Sweden's line/elite infantry is average and can hold their own and in conjunction with the ranged cavalry makes for an effective rush army. Sweden's biggest weakess is the absence of any light infantry in their roster, forcing players to close distance quickly.
Portugual features the best light infantry in the game, however everything else is decidely mediocre. Portugual's main weakness is having the worst cavalry roster in the entire game, which is one cavalry unit so weak it can barely serve the role of firearms disruption. Not to mention Portugual has no elite infantry. Portugual is basically a weaker version of Britain.
Spain's speciality are their guerrilla units which can be placed basically anywhere on the map during the deployment phase. They have certain useful tactical applications such as capturing buildings and hills immediately after the beginning of a battle. On grassy flatlands you can place guerrilla units behind the enemy's army, which can catch an unexperienced player off guard. However, Spain's unit roster is overall pretty mediocre. Spain is fairly similar to Austria.
The most balanced faction out of all of the second tier factions. Austria is basically a weaker version of Prussia. However Austria lacks a true elite infantry unit which hampers its raw power.
Third tier factions
Lacking any light infantry and lancers, Denmark is at a huge disadvantage. They have a variety of lackluster riflemen, artillery and line/elite infantry. Demark lacks any specfic strengths which puts them at the mercy of better factions.
2- United Netherlands
Absolutely the worst faction. With no elite infantry, mediocre light and line infantry, subpar artillery and bad cavalry. United Provinces is truely a difficult faction to succeed with.
Developing your skills
How to efficiently improve your skill in NTW
1- Don't practice too much against the AI
Playing the AI too much leads to some bad habits. It doesn't challenge you to any real degree and you can often win by camping. While you can practice the fundamentals of micromanagement against the AI, to really grasp the tactical intricacies of NTW you need to play with other people.
2- Play on grassy flatlands
More specifically, play a 1v1 on that map. Your skill is truely on display here, you can't hide your deficiencies behind better teammates or ontop of hills. You can't camp and expect to win. Many terrain maps are unfair and favor one side over the other (i.e. Waterloo, Borodino). Grassy flatlands gives no advantages to either side and the player who can maneuver better will win. Skills you obtain here will be applicable to every other map you play. For a good terrain map to practice on, play on Galician ria, a relatively even map that has many subtle terrain features.
3- Save and watch your replays
Often in your heat of battle, you make split second decisions and sometimes you get lost in the details that you don't quite grasp the whole picture. Or the opposite could happen and you didn't catch how your unit rouited so quickly. Watching your replays can often tell you something about the battle you didn't notice at the time. Watch what you did right and what you did wrong, and learn from it.
4- Get familiar with the major factions
Know what your opponent's faction is capable of and you can predict what tactics he will adopt. For example, expect Prussia to keep you at bay with superior light infantry and expect Ottomans to try a melee rush.
5- Handicap yourself with weaker factions
Playing with weaker factions leaves you with less room for error and forces you to be tactically flexible. As you become more seasoned, if you end up playing against a novice player try handicapping yourself.
6- Practice, practice, practice
What sets apart great players is their flawless execution of basic tactics, and that comes from practice. The old adage holds true, practice makes perfect.