The Rhodoks are known for their extensive use of the Board Shield and mixture of spearmen and crossbowmen -- the bane to the existence of the cavalry-based Swadians. These, along with their mountainous homeland, make up for their weakness of possessing no cavalry units.
Using the Kingdom of RhodoksEdit
Aside from their elite infantry unit, the Rhodok Sergeant, Rhodoks rely primarily on their crossbowmen to be successful in sieges. With their high damage, massive board shields, and mass recruitability, Rhodok Crossbowmen of all types are deadly in sieges. This is due to the high damage of the crossbow, which can kill or fatally wound an enemy soldier (40-70 damage, if not a headshot) with one bolt. In addition to these deadly, one-shot crossbows, crossbowmen are equipped with some of the largest shields in the game. To avoid casualties and attempt to drain the enemy's archers, one tactic may be to order the archers to use their shields, creating an impenetrable wall. If you are besieging a town, this may not work from the sheer amount of arrows.
One way to have both a wall of shields and crossbowmen would be to create groups in the party screen. Set your Rhodok Sharpshooters, those with the most firepower and accuracy, to archers, and the rest of crossbowmen equipped with shields to a custom group. Order that group to use shields and stand in front of the sharpshooters that can now fight with a bit of cover.
When defending a city or castle, Rhodok Sergeants are invaluable, as their huge shields and ridiculous amount of health means that they are all but invulnerable to enemy archers, while their proficiency at close quarters combat means they can hold their own against anything short of a Nord Huscarl. Rhodok Sharpshooters are the best defensive unit in the game (comparable only to the Vaegir Marksman), in both defending castles and towns and from a vantage point on the battlefield.
Rhodoks, with their long spears and deadly crossbows, can create impenetrable defenses, especially in their mountainous homeland. Once on the battlefield, the first action should always be to station your ranged units on the nearest hill. Infantry can be placed a few paces in front of the line of archers to block any cavalry and eventually infantry. Crossbowmen are extremely effective against slowly approaching infantry, and can also pick off cavalry units that are slowed by charging up the hill. This tactic is especially effective against bandits that do not use formations and just charge, typically without shields as well.
Possibly the most recognisable tactic in the ancient world was the phalanx, which can be emulated by a regiment of Rhodok Spearmen. This tactic can rule out the effectiveness of melee cavalry charges as the unsuspecting horseman who charges through the first line will be slaughtered by the men behind.
Setting up a phalanxEdit
- First you have to do some managing in your party interface. When you start the new game, you'll find 3 groups: Infantry, Archers and Cavalry. When you recruit/upgrade to Rhodok Spearman, these men will be placed in the Infantry group. If you want to let your tactics work, use different Hotkeys for each type of spearmen you have. Then you're ready to enter the field to set up your first successful phalanx.
- Once on the battlefield, you have to choose the place to settle your phalanx now. Before you move to the spot you want to place your wall, press [F1] + [F1]. Try the most efficient ways to choose the spot by holding down [F1] to see a flag on the landscape and move that flag to the spot you want to place the wall. Or press [backspace] and choose your spot on the mini-map. Have your veterans hold position at your choice location, and then build a square with the rest of your spearmen by having them hold the position behind each line. You probably want to place your wall in front of your bowmen/crossbowmen or your entire army, so set the spot to place them in the middle of your archery/army line.
- They're standing in position before the ones they are going to defend, but right now the spear wall can be made even more effective. The way to achieve this is to let them spread out from each other by pressing [F2] and than [F3] a few times in a row and see how your Rhodok Spearman and other spearmen are going to stand at greater distance apart. They now cover a greater area that lies behind them, but there is another reason to do this too.
- The last step is to solve the problem of late reaction time, it'll only require focus and a good timing. The clue is that when spearmen charge, they are using their polearms much sooner. So you have to let them charge at the moment enemy cavalry is at the best distance for it. This will probably take some practice (and the best way to practice this, is to do custom battles and choosing Rhodok Infantry against enemy cavalry). When you press charge, most AI will attack the enemy closest to them, which means that if one enemy horseman shows up earlier than the others, all of your Rhodok Spearman will attack this one. And that's why it's important to let your spearmen spread out for a more effective defense.
Defeating the Kingdom of RhodoksEdit
When fighting Rhodoks, you should always try to have the largest amount of men possible. This is because of what seems to be their most dangerous tactic. When fighting cavalry, Rhodoks will surround a horseman and jab at him with spears. While the horseman is immobilized by the mass of soldiers around him with shields that he can't hit past, he becomes a sitting duck for sharpshooters. To avoid this, keep your cavalry close while the Rhodoks attack your infantry. When they attack a lone infantry unit, rush in with your cavalry and kill the entire group of them. Fighting on foot also helps, but only if you have already gotten close to the group, where you can slay them with ease. However, just remember that taking over the Rhodoks is, by far, a late game goal.
The best method of defending against a besieging army of Rhodoks is to position your archers on both sides of the siege tower or ladder, so as to hit them from either side. The best way of doing this is to create a "Crossbowmen" group in the Party interface and order them to hold position on one side, and have your archers hold on the other. Vaegir Marksmen and Swadian Sharpshooters are recommended for this, as the disadvantage of being at war with the Rhodoks will level the playing field between Swadian and Rhodok crossbowmen.
Position Nord Huscarls at the top of the ladder or at the siege engine's landing area. This is the most important part. Dismounted heavy cavalry units simply cannot defend against Rhodok Sergeants as well as Nord Huscarls. If you do not have any Nord Huscarls, then use Sarranid Mamlukes. These soldiers are more effective because they have weapons that crush through blocks, which is imperative when confronting those deadly shield walls.
When attacking a castle held by Rhodoks, ideally you should use Nord Huscarls. However, these can be difficult to obtain, as they take a long time to train. So, if you do not have Huscarls, use Swadian Sharpshooters. Order your Sharpshooters to spread out, so that they have to take longer to shift their aim toward individual targets. Use those Sharpshooters to eliminate as many enemies as they can, and then lead your Mamlukes (or other units that can crush through blocks) up the ladder or siege engine ramp. Your best case scenario with this strategy is a siege tower, as the enemy's Rhodok Sergeants may over-extend onto the siege engine, leaving them vulnerable to more skilled close-combat soldiers and possibly disrupting the shield wall.
If at all possible, never confront large Rhodok forces in hills, mountains, or valleys. This article will go in order of best case scenario to worst case scenario.
This is the best way to fight Rhodoks. No fancy tactics here except charging with heavy cavalry, preferably with Mamlukes, as they have lances and other heavy weapons that can break down shield walls. While your cavalry charges, keep the infantry close behind them so they can finish off stragglers. You should ride behind the main formation and try to kill their crossbowmen. Then you should command the cavalry to follow you, and charge right into the back of the enemy formation. Also remember to keep ranged units away from the battle, out of range of everything works best. This is a tested and effective strategy but should only be used on open fields.
If you are lacking in cavalry there is still a way to beat Rhodoks. You want to target the crossbowmen as they tear shields into pieces, then destroy the meat of your men. Have your infantry and archers hold in a spot. Make your infantry advance ten paces. This way your infantry will take the brunt of the arrows while your archers try and kill their troops. You should ride around on a horse, flanking the sharpshooters. Try and make them either target you, or change to melee weapons. This will give your team more time to kill their troops. Once the opposing infantry or archers have been almost wiped out. Send your men to clean up the remainder of the troops.
When fighting on large hills, dismount your cavalry and order everyone to follow you. Then, hide behind a hill, forcing the enemy to charge you. When they charge you, destroy the charge, bring your archers to the top of the hill, tell them to hold position and fire at will, then charge with your cavalry and infantry. This should leave you with little to no casualties.
When confronting Rhodok forces in mountainous areas, dismount your cavalry and set yourself up near the side of a valley. Have your infantry and cavalry guard your back, and order your archers to look down into the valley. When the enemy comes around through the valley, shoot at them a lot and then fall back a little bit. Then charge the enemy while they climb up the side of the valley. Order you archers on top of the mountain you selected, and have them fire at will. Whether you accompany your archers is up to you, but always try to have some infantry troops in your archers group so that the archers are not completely defenseless.
If you find yourself in a valley, cramped into one area like Tulbuk's Pass (playable in custom battle mode or at Tulbuk), dismount your horses and put them in front of you to form a meat shield. Then order your archers and infantry to the left side of the Valley, and have them hold position up top. Then, leave your cavalry behind the horses, and wait for the enemy to run up to the horses and cavalry. When the enemy arrives at the horses, charge in with your infantry from the side, and trap them between the horses you and your infantry. Now order your cavalry to mount their horses and watch as your slashing swords eliminate them. All you have to do next is order your troops to charge, and the remainder of the enemy army will be eliminated with ease. That is the only feasible way to fight them in this situation without deaths on your side. However this does require well-timed attacks, so be wary, you may be better off with charging down the pass and hoping for open ground.