Commander's Discretion is used to gain a specific type of terrain available in a province. It sacrifices what type of battle you will pursue (Be it open field or set piece), for your commander to focus on what type of terrain you’d prefer to fight in.
The advantage of Commander's Discretion
can be used in many areas. I was first introduced to this command
when I asked Steve Smith the purpose of it. His explanation was
similar to the summary I have provided, but used his specific example
of his Brythunian kingdom invading Turan.
Turan is full of forts in the home provinces; he negated what type of battle to fight to gain alternative terrains. Another example would be in the south, fighting against Tombalku. Tombalku has medium cavalry, which would be devastating to the typical southern infantry in desert terrain. Using Commanders Discretion to gain forest terrain would be desired, since even Kushs’ 75% loss ratio would be less valuable than the advantage of fighting cavalry in forest terrain.
You will likely fight a battle that is the province defense orders or what the opposing commander has chosen.
Choosing Terrain/Battle types:
Commander’s discretion can be negated when trying to seek a terrain, by choosing a terrain that is likely in a province. Military command plays the biggest role in maneuvering to the type of terrain desired. Because it is easier to gain the desired terrain if it is dominant (Excellent or Superior chance to maneuver to it), the less available terrain is, the more likely you will use commander’s discretion to gain it.
Commander's Discretion will be used when seeking a terrain that is either not predominant, imperative against a specific troop type (I.E. cavalry), or to avoid undesirable terrains (I.E. Fort A).
The key begins here. Most of you have been led to believe that it is military command (MC) that brings success here. Though it plays a role, not in the way you think. There is a secret ingredient to be used here, the one stat you wonder it’s purpose, the key to OF battles, heroism!
To properly explain this attribute, we have to explain the use of MC and terrain, which go hand in hand. MC is used primarily to get the ddesired terrain. In invasion sequence, from the intent to OF or Set Piece (SP) phase, let’s limit the importance of MC to just getting the desired terrain.
Of the factors that involve getting an OF battle, terrain and heroism are the two most important (and equal) factors. The type of terrain you fight in and the type of terrain available will determine what type of battle will be fought.
So, first you have to know what type of terrain is available before you can choose the type of terrain. Usually, you will want to pursue a type that has an excellent chance of fighting in, or higher (Superior). Next, you have to know type to seek, this is more common knowledge, the types of terrain that favor OF.
Desert, Forest and Hill are three primary examples for OF. Marsh, Fortified, Mountain and Open are primary examples of types that favor SP. Some terrain I’ve never fought in, let alone know where it exists, such as Oasis. Knowing what’s available and wisely selecting terrains part of getting the desired terrain, MC determines it. This is how the MC plays it’s role in OF battles.
Choosing a commander:
The commander is important, but do you choose MC over Heroism? The answer is simple, most of the time. Heroism should always be the choice (Superior Heroism should be the minimum here, but obviously the highest level available), when the desired terrain is the likely terrain. When the desired terrain is less likely, you’ll need more MC to get it. This is why the proper terrain selection is so important, you need the highest level of heroism possible.
Examples: You are ruling Cimmeria (LOTS of heroism here) and you are invading province 8, Southern Bossonia. The dominant terrains available are Fort A (Superior), Forest (Superior) and River (Superior). You select Forest, a favorable and dominant terrain. Leave it simple, no patrols, no selections for hidden movement or declining battle.
Next turn (Using a real example in 774 here) you find the battle went OF, but in Fortified Terrain (OF can occur in ANY terrain). Obviously, the lack of MC cost you the desired terrain (Aquilonia having Fort A the desired terrain, you must beat (Out maneuver) his commander for the terrain.) but heroism allowed it to go OF anyways.
You obviously then, do not need everything in your favor, just keep the procedures the same. BTW-I’ve taken 17 provinces in the first 12 turns in 774, so I’ve had huge success with the procedures for obtaining OF. The number of Imperial Armies (IA’s) involved does little to affect this, but I prefer to keep it simple, limit the number of characters involved. I try to keep it at one character per army, as I believe that multiple charactors favor SP battles.
It is commonly believed that-
*Certain nations favor OF battles
*Certain troops favor OF battles
*Patrols will help achieve OF battles
First, we look at the myth of certain nations favoring OF battles. I believe, based on the procedures for OF battles, certain nations have more assets to get OF battles, (Such as abundant desired terrain and heroism), but do not necessarily “favor” it.
As for certain troops, I’ve heard that cavalry will favor it, but NO troop type alone will EVER get you OF on it’s own. Troop type does not matter, or at least make enough impact to endorse this.
As for patrols, they are not only unnecessary, but prevent troops from showing up to battles. I’ve had such a HUGE success without using patrols, I see no point in ever using them in an OF situation. They counter ambushes, leave them to that purpose.
Introduction: Below is a list of all the Hyborian War character commands. Instead of an explanation for each, I’ve given a practical use or additional insight for each. If I felt the command was explained adequately in the rulebook, or did not have special insight, I did not add any additional information for that code. This should be used to supplement information, not in lieu of the rulebook.
Actively Rule: Actively ruling is important in many aspects. In order to hold a treasury, you need a ruler with higher rulership ability. I've had a Pictland that owned all of Aquilonia (Check the cost to raise troops with Pict, it's nothing) and can't hold the gold 3 turns. Rulership and your treasury go hand in hand.
It will also affect your conscription abilities, based on whether or not your provinces have a high loyalty to the throne. Actively rule any turn you plan on conscripting (I'm talking about the monarch here) as well as provincial rulers, if possible. I don't believe the individual provincial rulers do much, but if you own provinces with a lot of trade routes (Bord, Khau), assign a ruler with high stats, and you will bolster your treasury that way. Provincial rulers will also be the first to react in invasions, if invaded. You can assign strategic characters to strategic provinces.
A R when the loyalty's are low to avoid rebellions, which are very
costly and on PY's.
Adventuring: Adventuring CAN be very profitable during PY’s, but anyone with stats decent enough to adventure is probably a hero and will do so on their own. Use this command to kill your CHA’s and ADJ’s for better stats. This can also be used to kill a monarch, if you have an adequate replacement. Be careful however, if your provinces aren’t loyal, not actively ruling and sending him to adventure may spark the same riots you were trying to avoid.
Assassinate: Pretty self-explanatory. You’ll have to decide who is a worthy target to kill. Diplomacy is the main target, traditionally, so you will be able to hinder a kingdom from peacing you, or anyone else. Intrigue, above all else, is the most important stat. That isn’t to say a hero with superior PC can’t get the job done, just that the character with intrigue will do it more often. Useful to kill FW or BD wizards also, just know that on the turn you kill a character, he will still cast any battle magic for SP battles in progress. I’ve found that using multiple agents on one character will bring more total kills than having many targets, with one assigned to each. I’ve used as many as 6 assassins on one character. Just use the philosophy: if you want him dead, use the resources to ensure it happens. See court spying for more information.
Assign to army: You need to, obviously, assign a character to an invading army. Please refer to my OF manual as to what abilities are priority for what type of battle you want. I will also note, that if you use the tactic to invade by declaring a set piece battle, while declaring new intents and adding reinforcing armies during the SP battle (often popular with counteracting the black death spell), you should also add new commanders. Generals in HW were designed to lead 30 troop armies, so you should keep that ratio, 30 troops, at least 1 commander. If there is only one character in your invasion force and your lead general gets tied into combat (and perhaps dies or is routed), the rest of your troops will be leaderless.
Avoid the influence: Avoiding influence is not only important for avoiding peace treaties. It is also your only protective barrier against nations trying to break one of your alliances. Nations will attempt to break the alliance at its weakest link, or the nation in the alliance with the least avoidance against them. When being used to avoid treaties, it is often necessary to avoid a nations influence even when you have reached superior avoidance.
Bless: Bless is a spell that can be used to help in the productivity of a province. When used with a provincial ruler who is actively ruling a province, it can bolster the provincial loyalty. During PY, it can increase the productivity of a province (and fall war seasons). It can also be used in conjunction with the conscription command, to lessen the effects of the counter loyalties it produces and may increase the amount of troops that are conscripted to the capital.
Break Alliance: The break alliance command will sever the alliance between two nations. This is tactically useful when a nation will either invade you through the ally, or will attempt to defend an ally. Diplomacy and intrigue are the two primary character abilities to use in this command. You do not need both abilities, just one or the other. When you break the alliance of a kingdom that has an ally moving through his provinces, the army will have to withdraw out of his provinces and can lose a significant amount of troops. When it is broken during a SP battle that the ally assisted in, or moved to the same turn, the ally will remain allied during the battle, then retreat after helping in their defense.
Counter Spy: I can summarize all the 3 types of counter spying in one summary. I can teach you nothing new with counterspy kingdom, but counter spying court does more than one thing. It will also aid in the thwarting of assassination attempts in your court. When used in conjunction with character movement (Move character declaration), it will make it increasingly difficult for your opponents to not only locate your court, since they will have to spy every turn, but to also get the statistics of those characters. There are varying reports when it comes to spying; sometimes you just get names and character types. Sometimes stats but not locations, sometimes locations but not stats. Using counter-spy will help keep your key characters alive. Counter-spying an individual province will also keep characters in the province from being spied upon.
Curse: Cannot add a lot more than the rulebook. The opposite of bless. Use to decrease provincial loyalties, incomes and conscription efforts.
Diplomacy: When cast, bolsters a characters diplomacy skill.
Dispel Magic: A very under rated spell, in my opinion. When successfully cast, can prevent any character from using their magic abilities for one turn. Imagine the possibilities…Best used against a character in a set piece phase of battle, since some characters can cast two spells. Can also be used in the movement phase of battle to nullify black death.
Disrupt Warpact: Beyond the description available in RSI’s rulebook, I can add that I believe that the amount of characters you use for this command may have more impact than any one skill of an individual character. I believe the more characters you use, the more likely it’ll be successful, regardless of the skills. I have seldom used the command, but have had great success when doing so. The varying factors of success may lie in their diplomatic influence level against you, or it may lie in a characters intrigue. I’ve always used every available character when the command was needed. Again, the philosophy: if you want it done, use the resources to do it.
Far Sight: When used as a character command, I have nothing to add. Results vary.
Foment Unrest: I see this command more as having an objective, than a particular result in any one turn. It can be used turn after turn to attempt to lower a provinces loyalty. However, the objective is to obtain a revolt in the province. Wreak havoc on the province you wish to revolt, using raids in conjunction with the command. The end result is having the province revolt while being raided. Steve Smith shared one of his experiences with me. I wish I could retrieve the correspondence, but it’s long gone now. He was either Zamora or Brythunia, at war with the other. He had been raiding and using the command on the opposing capital every turn. Eventually, the province began revolting and he invaded. The province had more than 30 troops the turn prior to the revolts, when he invaded, it hadn’t enough to muster an invasion force (8 troops). It can be lethal, but takes a large amount of persistent use. Can also be very risky to your characters as well.
Kidnap: Why kidnap when you can assassinate just as easily? Have never used the command.
Move Army: Not sure if it even works. Never been clear on what it does. I wish someone would tell me.
Negotiate Peace: First, I believe the full tribute command works with this declaration, even if you are broke. Secondly, it’s another command I believe will work on quantity, not necessarily quality. If you want it done, use the resources to do so. Sometimes, that’s every character in your court, depending on the court.
Protection: Use with the move character declaration. Always protect in the province the characters are in, not moving to. Use as you would an assassin, more than one to get the job done.
Rains: No comments as a character command.
Reincarnation: No comments as a character command.
Rescue: Often best served on the character that is captured. No further comment seems necessary.
World Spying: Best used on a peace year. When you have limited (or no) intrigue, you can usually at least obtain the number of coming war seasons. I use the command more often with less capable courts to gather a quantity of information.
Spy Kingdom Treasury: No comments.
Spy Kingdom Military: No comments.
Spy Province Territory: No comments.
Spy Province Military: No comments.
Spying Court: Since spy intelligence is not always complete, it is often best to use at least two agents for the same spy mission. This is especially true when it comes to spying an enemy’s court. The two things you are looking for, location and abilities, are both equally important. How you use this information is as well. Will you target a superior diplomat, or a superior magic caster? Would you change your target if you were locked in set piece battle? Try to prioritize. If you are hitting his firewall every battle, perhaps superior magic casters should be brought to the top of the list. If you fear being peaced, go for the diplomacy.
When looking at the locations, keep an eye on a province that has a high volume of characters. That’s a good sign that his protection duties are going there. Find quality characters that are in lone provinces, or in set piece battle and they will be easier targets to kill.
Sunbane: No comments.
PEACE YEAR COMMANDS
Long Life: To be used on your most valuable character, which I consider your monarch unless you have a really good replacement.
Prophecy World: Can obtain better information that world spying on a peace years. A good report will contain the number of war seasons, the next peace years, the following war seasons and when the ice age is. You may also get player kingdom information, instead of the majority of NPK crap you get with world spying.
Prophecy Kingdom: A good report will give you the kingdoms invasion intents, as well as the length of coming war seasons.
Assign Provincial Ruler: As you get better at playing Hyborian War, you’ll find that you simply won’t have enough characters to rule every province you conquer. Prioritize which ones actually need one (Rich provinces with trade routes, or strategic provinces you can assign rulers to respond when invaded, such as a black death wizard, etc. would be priority). Trade routes will bolster your overall economy, so try to accommodate a ruler when possible.
Assign Monarch: Be sure to follow the rulebook on this, there is a specific guideline to follow. Your monarchs rulership ability can directly affect hold well the treasury is managed. The higher his rulership ability, the longer your treasury can hold under the same circumstances.
Black Death: The most powerful defensive magic spell that can be cast. You must make a declaration for the spell the turn prior to casting it. The individual skill level of the characters magical ability will indicate the effectiveness of the spell. Try to, obviously, use it on as large an invading force as possible.
Change Army Status: I do have a couple tips beyond what the rulebook will tell you. First, a defensive army can respond to a province that is cut off. In example, if Cimmeria lost 32, it’s capital, a defensive army in 33 or 35 could potentially respond to 36, even though they are not connected. My other advice is for the ice age. Defensive armies should be positioned in provinces that can respond to a large number of neighboring provinces. In example, if you were Stygia, you could position armies in 148 to cover 142, 145, 148, 146, and 141. Another army in 143 could cover the remaining provinces and they may possibly over lap each other (meaning that two armies may respond instead of one). If you have more armies for a concentrated area, be sure that they will overlap.
Conscript Troops: Always, at the minimum, use the Actively Rule command for your monarch. I believe that it is easier to raise a provinces loyalty with troops in it, so taking them away may have the opposite affect. Actively Ruling, theoretically, aids in the amount of troops that will actually be conscripted instead of rebelling to minor lords in the province.
Detach Troops: The best use for this command is when you need a higher movement rate for your army. On the turn you enter the declaration to detach the slowest moving troops out of your army, move the army in accordance with what will be the next slowest moving troop (Do not factor in the detached troops, they detach before the movement of the army) after the order is completed.
This can also be used when managing your armies. Detach lighter troops to replace them with heavier types. This will help with open field battles, and when you have reached a 30-troop army.
Disband Mercenaries: Some recommendations for Argos specifically: You can disband and raise new mercs every single turn, alleviating the cost of actually paying the mercs themselves. You will still pay encampment costs, but this will stretch your treasury a lot further than keeping the mercs you raised and hoping to kill them off. It also allows you to be more flexible and have the appropriate amount of troops for your invasions and defenses.
Exile: Basically a broken code. You have to actually drop the game then let your last province be taken. You can then call RSI and have them put you in exile.
Far Sight: Use this declaration to assist in achieving the type of terrain you desire in battle.
Force March: Use this command to aid in obtaining the type of battle you desire.
Raise Troops: An old tip that at lot of people use, declare to raise 100 of each troop type you want. This ensures you get the maximum amount of troops per turn.
Gift: Sometimes your enemy’s enemy can be your friend. Send him gold to aid in his war against those you cannot battle. I would suggest only parting with gold for the demise of people ahead of you in rank and you actually having a shot at winning.
Intent to Raid: When conducting raids, lighter troops are generally more effective.
Intent to Invade: Invasions declarations spread into many topics. When appropriate, it is discussed as a tactic in other chapters. As far as explaining it’s uses in a practical sense, this command is used as discussed in the rulebook, to make invasion preparations wherever you wish. See references to intents to invading, in the chapter discussing Turn 0 Commands.
You can also use this declaration to invade a province you are in strategic movement with. Placing an intent can send in additional reinforcements (More Imperial Armies) to the same battle. They will fight in the terrain already chosen by the army in the strategic movement phase.
Intent to Break Alliance: I’ve stated before that an ally now, does not necessarily mean that it cannot be a foe later. This command can illustrate that point, or it wouldn’t exist. When things get sour, or if you want to get the drop on someone, breaking an alliance can catch an unsuspecting kingdom off guard. In some situations, your only opportunity to invade a diplomatic powerhouse, or if you severely lack diplomacy, is making an alliance. Build your influence up, then intent to invade on the same turn you make your declaration to break the alliance.
Move Character: A moving character has two primary uses. The most obvious is to prevent spy intelligence from tracking where they are and making assassinations more difficult to attempt. The second is to keep them away from entering battles and nullifying any orders given for that turn.
Pay Tribute (Full): Many rumors surround the tribute command. With a treasury, it is certainly effective. I have always accompanied several diplomats, regardless of their diplomacy statistic. I believe quantity may way as heavily as quality in obtaining a peace treaty.
There is also the belief that this declaration has effect, even with an empty treasury.
Ambush: When ambushes are successful (from my experience, this has been in the area surrounding Vendhya), skirmishes can occur that result in the loss or capturing of characters. I believe that this is another case where lighter troops are more effective.
Decline Battle: I have only seen this work once, I am uncertain if my opponent checked the decline battle option as well. My army retreated without even taking the field. This was a 3rd party battle; I was Brythunia invading a Nemedian province. After Nemedia fell, I withdrew before fighting Corinthia; who had invaded as well. The declaration then, gives you the opportunity to gain or lose a province without an actual battle.
Preferred Terrain: This declaration is very important with the defense of your provinces. If your troops have an increased ability in a certain type of terrain, or you are facing an opponent with a higher grade of troops, you need to make the decision what terrain you wish to engage in.
Keep in mind, the lighter troop you carry, the tighter terrain you wish to fight in.
Open Field/Set Piece: Another important
declaration for the defense of your provinces. I almost always prefer
set piece, unless you are aware and prepared for an invasion and
specifically want to fight him in open field for an advantage. Set
piece gives you an additional turn to reinforce, regardless if you
carry a 75% loss ratio in open field.