Here I present you a German Saloon Merc based strategy Ė Guns and Biers.
German Mercenary Uniqueness
Mercenary Combat card boosts a huge 20% to all mercenaries. Most donít realise how powerful it is, if you consider mercenaries are equivalent of FU imperial units, this 20% is added to their fullest current stats, that is equivalent of +25% of normal unitís stats.
On top of that, German has more mercenaries in shipments than anyone else, allowing them to make the most use of their mercs.
How you play out this strategy, greatly depends on which merc you get. Best case scenario is getting 2 decent mercs of different type. Worst case is getting 2 useless ones. In between there are many possible combinations, sometimes you may get 2 mercs of the same type thus one will become redundant.
Standard age1 with 17~18 vils, age up to 400w. Chop wood for a TP in transition. Build a saloon + 2 houses with 400 age up wood, ship 3 SW. Fixed BO stops here.
You now check out the saloon mercs, and you will have to make some decisions, because the mercs you get will affect whether you should get merc combat card and whether you should take on this strategy, you also have to adjust your card order accordingly.
Anyway, the ideal situation is reaching fortress reasonably fast, at around 7:00 using Exile prince, or 8:20 using Marksman, with 100 pop provided by 3 houses (with palatine settlement as 3rd card), a good economy of 8 SW + 12~14 villager, and a shipment ready.
Your fortress game depends on what your opponent does. Your goals are:
1, send merc combat card to boost your mercs as soon as you get a breath, usually first or second fortress card, kill his army cost effectively.
2, establish map control because you need mines, possible put down another TC and boom away.
I often get a market in transition to age3, research gold mining and 2 wood chopping, then build outposts around mines. Another way is ship 1000wood early on and build TC + tower with them, this way it saves a lot of the research cost early on, allows you to get a few more units. Or you can keep heavy pressure on him by put every shipment and resource into units, attack him constantly so he can not afford to raid you back.
you will have to make barrack or stable to produce units that saloon did not provide. in most cases it is skirmishers, uhlans, or WW.
With good judgement and combat skills, helped by a bit of luck, you will win the game before both side get to late industrial Ė thatís where mercs lose their edge.
1, whether to commit to this strat--
the best way is to first rank mercs from most useful to least useful (from a german's point of view):
Elmiti, 10, most powerful unit in the game, makes up for german's lack of durable melee cav. monstours stats with merc combat.
Highlander, 10, not only the undisputed best HI in the game, it makes up for german's lack of muskteer type unit.
Jaeger, 9, german dont get skirm upgrade cards, so 20% boosted jaeger is definitely worth getting
Swiss pike, 8, one of the most cost effect mercs, cheaper and better than dopp.
Liíl Bombard, 6, you save 300w for not having to make a foundry, they also kill cavalry well, very multi-purpose.
Mameluke, 6, very good unit, makes up for uhlans's low health, useful for killing artilleries, but as in general anti LI, you can rely on the volume of uhlans.
Hackapell, 5, not normally my perfered merc cav, but with merc combat they kill skirmishers, Wakina, FP and unupgraded pikeman in 1 hit, this is very significant when these are amongst the most common unit you will be facing.
Stradiot, 4, although normally slightly better than hackapell, i rank it lower because it donesnt standard out, and can easily be substituted by upgraded uhlans, 2 vet uhlans is quite similar 1 stradiot in over all effectiveness.
Landsknecht, 3, inferior to swiss pikes, but better than dopps. do very well against other LI.
Black rider, Manchu, 2, as good as they are in general, they are not useful to germans, WW is just as good as them and gone cost pure gold.
Corsair, 2, these guys should really be considered as cavalry - fast, good melee damage, low siege, only difference is they are countered by different type of units. most of their jobs can be handled by the free uhlans. and they are not good enough unless you get the merc combat boost.
Ninja, 1, completely worthless on the battle field, maybe good for raiding due to good siege.
Fusilier, 0, the only use for this unit is raiding, but at loaded with uhlans, i dont think you will lack raiding forces.
you add the value of the 2 mercs you get and go from there.
> 10, it is very worthwell commiting to this strat,
5< + >10, it maybe worthwell but you have to think twice, number of avaliable mines and opponent civ choice could be deciding factors.
< 5, it is not worth doing.
2, you have to decide on build order based on what mercs you get. For example if you get 2 good mercs like jaeger and swiss pike, it is very good setup, you want to ship palatine settlement and go to fortress with Exile prince, because you can make good infantry so you donít need 6 free skirms and you wont need wood for barrack, just make them as soon as you get to fortress. If you donít get ranged infantry merc, you may want to get those 6 free skirms, then you want to age up with marksman. If you get 2 average mercs, such as BR + Stradiot, you may still go a head but you donít want to focus too much on the mercs. You may want to rely on normal units more, You may want to ship 700G or 700W next, go to fortress ASAP and build barrack + stable. When you get 2 crap mercs, you will want to forgo this strat altogether, switch to a conventional German FF, which is very possible as your only loss is 200 wood on the saloon and used up a card slot that you are not going to send anymore(merc ombat).
3, Theoritically the best time to send merc combat is right before the first big battle of your mercs. sending too early means you missed out on eco boost, too late means your mercs are not as effiecient.
in reality it is very difficult, you do not know when the battle will take place and when you will have next shipment.
you just have to make judgements about the situation and calculate your chances.
against aggrasive FF, such as iro and spain, send it ASAP; against boomers like british and port, you can afford send it after 1000W, and maybe even 1000G; against russian and aztec, who are likely to still be in age2 ammasing an army of LI, you may want to get 9 uhlans and combined with some existing units, kill off his army before it gets too large.
4, XP treasure always comes first, 80 XP means 2 SW arrives 40 seconds faster, which gives extra 160 VS, which is over 120 food, 3 SW could arrive 40 seconds faster, that is 180 food. So pick it over 80 food next time you see them.
5, German is very rush-able, and everyone knows, you want to scare them off rushing, and should they rush, you want to be prepared. To do this you should keep cards like Teutonic TC, 2 outpost, improved buildings, 9 xbows in your deck. You have a saloon and lots of pop space, using outlaw for rush defence is quite viable.
6, keep 2~3 plantation upgrades in your deck, get wood chopping upgrades when you can, you have to be prepared to use plantation heavily in late fortress, because you cant always get many mines.
7, obviously it is almost impossible to do on maps without Trade Route, as you wonít get enough XP for the shipments.
8, personally I find allowing some idle time and go to colonial ASAP is a good choice at times, German colonial economy is quite good, you can afford 1 less vil, but sometimes that 20 seconds faster colonial could do a lot more good.
9, on games where you get 300 food and 200 wood start, it is possible to chop wood, build TP first, then first house and keep vil production constant, it will take a little practice to get right, but it is definitely worthwhile.
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