Medieval Total War, Italian tips

Okay, I’ve been playing far too much Medieval Total War lately. It’s
only my first campaign and I started playing as the Italians mainly

  • It didn’t seem too hard, or too easy
  • Being English seemed to easy, and too obvious
  • I had delusions of being able to start my own in-game

So, having brought Italy from it’s small beginnings to conquering most
of Europe I have the following advice

Don’t expand too quickly

I’ve made that mistake a couple of times. As well as being difficult to
manage, your much more likely to have a rebellion occur when you’re
already overstretched. The artificial intelligence in Medieval Total War
seems to keep an eye on how vulnerable you are and will spring a
surprise on you (e.g. an old faction re-emerging) at the time you’d
least like it to happen.

Occupy provinces for a few years with a large force before moving

It takes a while for a region to settle down. It’s tempting once
you’ve ‘broken through’ to go on the rampage, but the provinces you
leave behind will pretty soon revert to their old ways

Don’t upset the Pope

In retrospect, I did upset the Pope far too early in the game by
attacking the Hungarians. It meant he declared a crusade against me and
then half the catholic world declared war. I think there is probably a
better way to use religion within Total War than I have so far.

If you take over Rome, watch out for the Pope

If you do upset the Pope then the best thing to do is invade Rome and
destroy the faction. That voids all excommunications and crusades. The
problem is, every few years there’ll be a really big rebellion usually
involving about 1000 highly trained troops. The good thing about these
is that the Pope usually makes a really bad general so the army is often
easy to rout. Which brings me to:

If you have to fight a large force of knights…

…use plenty of missile power, and keep your troops in formation.
It’s much better in this situation to be defending, so as soon as you
see an uprising fill the province with troops and try to fight it down
in the same turn it attacks. That way you can just occupy a hill
position and rain crossbow bolts and arrows down on the troops.

Don’t chase routing troops

Unless you see the ‘The Enemy is fleeing the field’ message.
Reinforcements may be over the hill and being caught out of formation is
very bad.

Use the right troops

Spearmen or feudal seargants are very good against cavalry, as long
as the cavalry don’t attack from the flank. The Medieval world is very

Watch out for the Sicilians too

Despite invading and conquering Sicily there were a number of
resurgences of the Sicilian or rebel factions.

Build a lot of ports and ships

As a Meditteranean nation, the Italians are often fighting on a
coastal region. If you have a string of ships and a port at the start of
the journey then you can move armies around the map almost instantly.
This makes defending places like Rome and Sicily much easier. You should
still keep large armies in these places, though, as a deterrent.

Build ports in places that have a tendency to rebel

This especially applies to Rome. It may be easy to push forces in
from the Meditteranean, but when things hot up you need to redeploy them
equally as quickly.

Build Royal Palaces

The Italians can train Royal Knights. These are excellent against
lesser trained troops. Remember not to get them bogged down against
spearmen especially, though. Charge in, then charge out. During a
battle, keep them on the flanks so they can run outside the enemy and
round the back.

Make the most of artillery when defending

It’s not much use when you’re attacking, but for defending a hilltop
a couple of catapults can scare the shit out of most enemies. Medieval
peasants especially generally won’t be prepared for stones on their

Occupy the seas

Very important for the Italians, and also good for trade. Try to
maintain sea-going superiority. This gives tremendous flexibility when
attacking somewhere such as Spain.

Establish an Eastern border with some good castles

I’ve stopped short of invading Poland so far and have some fairly big
castles built up along the border. So far, this has put them off any
idea of invasion

Only fight one war at a time

As with Don’t expand too quickly, if there’s too
much going on then you’ll be seen as an easy target. This can also be
used to your advantage: weaken any of the other medieval factions and a
rebellion may pop up. This is especially likely to happen if you manage
to kill a faction leader.

Develop Italian Infantry

You need to be quite technically advanced in terms of castles and
weaponry but Italian Infantry make very good fighters in virtually any
battle situation.

Go for technology over fast growth

A well-trained force can often beat another army of double its size.
My Italians have just fought off the Egyptians in a war with odds of
2-1. Remember, there’s a limit on the number of soldiers on the field at
any time with Medieval Total War so you don’t need to fight them all of
at once, just one wave at a time

Keep an eye on archers’ ammo during battle

If you’re fighting a large battle with reinforcements available then
watch how your archers arrow stocks are going. If they’re low and
there’s a lull in the fighting then withdraw them and call on the

Harass footsoldiers with mounted crossbowmen

Just watch out for any heavy cavalry around and get ready to withdraw

Leave some regions underdeveloped

Not ideal, but it’s better to spend the money wisely in one area than
to spread it too thinly. Some provinces are really only any good for
developing farmland. Tuscany, for example.

Concentrate on creating different warrior types in each

E.g. Once an area is able to generate spearmen, try to make them
better spearmen. The next province can be given the task of making
archers (for instance) – give the region a speciality. This is
especially useful where you want to build shipyards as galleys take so
long to construct; there’s no point in being able to build every kind of
troop in one region if the throughput is low. Sometimes you may be under
attack and need to build hundreds of troops very quickly

Spread the generals around

It’s helpful to have a high (3 or more) star general near anywhere
that might start a war. That said, it’s also best to leave a provinces
governor at his home. Go for a combination of dread and acumen in
governors and leave the good generals free to fight the wars.

Merchants and trading posts are most effective in port regions

And almost worthless anywhere else.

Well, there you have it. The best collection of Medieval Total War
tips I can manage from my experiences so far.

More tips:

3 thoughts on “Medieval Total War, Italian tips”

  1. I think your ideas about the Italians are great. Have you considered providing an “encyclopedia” of tips on a group of nations (eg muslim or Catholic). Thanks anyway for the tips and keep them coming!

  2. Thats greast info and quite useful. But a question: how do you invade those little islands?? They are so annoying! you cant get rid of them… and if you can, how?? thx

  3. You seem to have fallen for the most common mistake of people who don’t read the manual fall to. All you have to do is have a ship in each sea region between a province with your army and those “little islands”. Then its a matter of dragging and dropping the army to the islands like the sea isnt there. Oh you can’t have any of those sea regions blockaded by enemy ships or this won’t work, so attack their ships first.

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