Conflict with your opponents is one of the best features of Anno 1404. This page describes some of the aspects of fighting and how to be successful.
Combat in 1404 uses an encampment system where control over units is indirect rather than direct.
A population of a certain size can only support a limited amount of military operations. This is expressed in terms of the military budget, shown in the building requirements as . Each keep/fortress, land unit, defensive structure, and castle counts against the military budget. The military budget depends on population size and can be increased with the Unconditional Loyalty attainment. If you have more units than your budget allows, you will not be able to generate new units at the keep/fortress. If you are playing Multiplayer, do not declare war on someone with a higher population count expecting a Quick victory. You will certainly lose.
Before you can actually attack your opponents, you must be at war with them first. This is done in the Diplomacy menu. It is possible to move troops and build castles into "allied" territory before the actual declaration of war is being commenced.
Land Combat Unit Interface
When a land unit is selected, you get an interface where you control the stance of your units. The four main buttons are the deploy, attack, assist, and cancel buttons.
Ground units in 1404 are not represented as individual troops, but rather as camps of troops. The camps must first be moved within range of the buildings or troops you wish to attack. It takes time to set up the camp once in position, before they can receive orders. If you order a camp to move to another island, they will automatically be transported across the water; there is no need for you to construct ships to carry them. Camps can also be ordered to assist other camps. If Provisions are present, they will be supplied to the camps and used to heal them.
Control is determined by trade buildings (warehouses), so to conquer an opponent's territory, you must only capture or destroy their warehouses. If you manage to capture an enemy warehouse, the other buildings within its range will also become yours.
When you click the deploy button, your mouse pointer becomes either an encampment or a ship that you can place. If it is an encampment, it must go into a valid location where there is flat land not in the control range of enemy units. The location must also be reachable by a route through flat land and a warehouse or castle for inter-island deployments. After deployment, it takes several seconds to set up the encampment before they are ready to get further instructions.
When you click the attack button, the cursor turns into a sword you use to target an enemy unit or structure with. If the unit is able to attack, they will start the operation.
When you click the assist button, you are able to assist other units under assault. This increases their chances of surviving.
Cancel current order
The cancel button cancels the current order and causes the men to return to their encampment. If troops are in the middle of moving encampment positions, it will cause the them to stop and set up camp where they are. However, ordering this command in a densely structured area, such as a city, will result in the unit to remain idle as there is no suitable area to build the encampment, while their health will decrease over time!
There is a smaller button to toggle between a mode where a unit simply defends itself against enemy units and where they actively engage enemy units that come into their attack radius. Mind though, that enemy encampments may be positioned near defensive structures as towers that will attack your troops once they come in range.
The green bar shows the number of hitpoints your unit has left. If you mouse over the bar, a tool-tip shows the exact figure and the limit so you can get an idea of how fast your unit is losing/gaining health. If you have provisions in your warehouse on the island, the hitpoints will regenerate faster. Hitpoints will regenerate slowly when the unit is not active.
There is a free alternative to have an encampment regain its hitpoints, although it may bring some risk for the encampment: have any encampment with loss in hitpoints embark into your harbor with a Repair crane nearby. Since hitpoints count for both encampment and transportation boat, a Repair crane will start repairing the boat and thus the hitpoints of both, resulting in full hitpoints when the encampment sets foot on land again. Note that transportation ships are more vulnerable than encampments and ships under attack are not being repaired!
Mouse over battle for odds
If you mouse over a battle, a tool-tip will give you approximate probability of success in the battle. Also, both a green and red shield are visible above the camp which is under attack, indicating respectively your chances of success versus the enemy's chances of success. The largest shield represents the party in favor of winning the battle.
Each unit and defensive structure has a control range. Your control ranges are the solid green regions around your units while enemy control ranges are the solid red regions. You cannot deploy units into an enemy control range and vice versa.
Some units and defensive structures have an attack range that is greater than their control range. In this case, there is a single line the same color as the control range.
Castles vs. Keeps and Oriental Forts
It can be confusing with all these terms.
|Castle: when a combat land unit approaches a beach in a boat, it can be turned into a castle on the beach in the same way a ship loaded with tools and wood can create a warehouse. Except you lose the boat when the boat is changed to a castle.|
|Keep: an Occidental building at the Patrician level which creates Occidental military units|
|Oriental fort: an Oriental building at the Envoy Grand Vizier's Advisor (1000 Prestige) level which creates Oriental military units.|
Attack and defense
A castle will automatically attack any enemy target in its range. This includes buildings. When it runs out of buildings to attack, it will attack city walls at some random location.
A castle provides a beachhead which allows land units to get to land locations. Combat units cannot otherwise just land on a beach, they must go through a castle or warehouse.
Upgrade to warehouse
A castle can be upgraded to a warehouse. Once there is a warehouse, Provisions can be supplied, goods can be stored to create market buildings for land control, and the warehouse strong box can hold military commanders that upgrade your fighting capacity on the island.
Taking over market buildings and marketplaces
This is the key method to taking over an enemy island. When a market building or marketplace are not in the control of an enemy control range or attack range, it is available for taking over. Place a land unit so that the marketplace or market building is in the control range and a small white/red pie timer will appear over the building. After the timer expires, the building will be taken over (unless the enemy player razes it to prevent you from gaining control). Any area not covered by enemy market buildings or market places will become available for your market buildings and places to control allowing you to gain control of everything within it, including any defensive structures which will then start to attack enemy units on your behalf. The more units influencing a control building, the faster it will be taken over and some unit types are better at take overs (like oriental and assassin) than others.
Other units can be attacked.
Defensive structures, towers and gates, can be attacked by units.
Walls can only be attacked by trebuchets, cannons, and Miner camps. For all other units, they form an impenetrable barrier. It is often necessary to breach walls to move units to parts of islands.
Like walls, buildings can only be attacked by trebuchets, cannons, and sappers. It is often desirable to remove buildings in order to get a unit close enough to a marketplace or market building. Buildings are likely to be set on fire if attacked, so if the firestation is gone, this is a good way to clear out space for placing encampments.
Peace cannot be reached until your reputation is close enough to the peace treaty region of the reputation scale in the Diplomacy menu. Sue for peace with the button to the right of the name of your computer opponent. You may offer tributes and ingratiate to increase your reputation and improve your chances of concluding a peace treaty. Your opponent may also offer peace during the fighting as well.
The attainments menu has items, bought with honor, which can help the chances of a successful military campaign.
- Lord Northburgh's Attainments
- Royal Armada increases the auxiliary fleet available from Lord Northburgh
- The Regent's Seal increases the effect of ingratiate which may help if you want to sue for peace
- Court Architecture increases the strength of your defensive structures and walls
- Imperial War technology increases the effectiveness of Occidental military units
- Imperial Arsenal adds to your ship limit
- The Grand Vizier's Attainments
- The Sultan's Naval Forces increases the auxiliary fleet available from the Grand Vizier
- The Saracen Art of War increases the effectiveness of Oriental military units
- Hassan bin Sahid's Attainments
- Unconditional Loyalty increases the military budget
- Dishonest Methods increases the effectiveness of warships
Giacomo Garibaldi's Attainments
- City on the Lagoon Defences increases the strength and hitpoints of your Harbour towers
- Doge Naval fleet increases the auxiliary fleet available from Giacomo Garibaldi
Bringing up the toolbar with the slow/fast buttons allows you to slow the game down. This aids in making fast deployments.
Marketplace/market building for control
As you take over land, make sure you maintain control with market buildings and marketplaces. If you leave areas uncontrolled, the AI opponent will often build there forcing you to take over the area. Note that you cannot build in enemy attack range. Thus you cannot, for example, build a tower to attack a tower.
Taking over wall defense
While defeating towers and gates by attacking them is effective, if you can take over all the market buildings and marketplaces that have the defensive structures, you can take them. Taking a tower or gate this way turns control over to you and it will now attack and defend on your behalf.
Holes in walls
Use trebuchets, cannons, and sappers to knock holes in walls. You'll need holes to move your other units around inside heavily fortified islands.
Warehouse With Commanders
As soon as possible, convert a castle to a warehouse, upgrade it, and stock the strong box sockets with items that increase the effectiveness of your military units.
Tearing down buildings for materials
If you need materials to build something in your influence area and you selected the option to recover all or half of your building materials when you destroy a structure, you can tear down your opponent's lost buildings to stock your warehouse with basic building materials.
Fire is devastating your opponent's city
Take out fire stations and then target cannons and trebuchets on buildings. They will soon catch fire and the fire will spread.
Ships can attack land units and land structures that are in their range.
Clicking an enemy unit in motion, will show a dotted line that shows the enemy units projected path. If the path leads off the island, a player can blockade the warehouse/castle where the army leaves from.
Once the enemy unit is in the water, the enemy unit cannot defend itself and is easy to sink.
Reserve Armies and Ships
Sometimes it is best to have several armies on the attack, while having some idle encampments in your settlements. The reason is that if you are playing against more than one computer player or are playing muitiplayer with more than one person. They will no doubt declare war on you and thereby taking advantage of your weakened state as all your ships, armies and resources are being put into attacking. So this person may decide to attack your settlements instead. Always have an army in a settlement ready to fight with the other player. So now you have a chance. Tips:
- Have extra armies so you can fight two players at once.
- More ships are needed to combat other players ships.
- Have your reserve army somewhere that players don't look.
Sometimes if you are unable to match the enemy's firepower, a good amount of large encampments and miners provides a very good match. For instance, if you use your LOE (large Occidental encampments) to create a wall around your miners and the attackers try to defeat you, use your miners to attack the enemies' encampment. They either blow them up or serverely damage their units. You can continue doing this until all enemy units are destroyed. Then get your miners to attack the enemy keep.
Enemy Castles on Your Island
You can use harbor towers and watchtowers to push AI away from landing in specific areas on your island or push them into an ideal area to land a castle (away from any of your buildings). Letting them land a castle will let you set up a blockade to destroy every troop transport ship they send at you. This way, if an AI declares war on you early (Marie having a "vision") you can easily defend yourself and cause massive financial damage to your enemy. This also buys you time to mobilize your own troops to retaliate.