Raider difficulty is a bit... difficult

Raider difficulty seems like it might be a bit out of control in my latest game. Yes, I’m on vanquisher, but still - the game’s very first raid saw an almost complete destruction of my city by 22 raiders with armor and axes. Took out 4 guard towers, hunters, etc and the fortified town center without blinking and have killed half the population and destroyed a good chunk of the buildings (and are still going strong).

Maybe… a bit much? Still a level 1 town. Or was, anyway.

Blimey, never seen 22 raiders do that much carnage, sure it was not 220. :grimacing:

It can happen.

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The good news is recovered. I almost abandoned this one - I was left with 4 adults at the end of the raid, and very few buildings standing. But we powered through some starvation, some subsequent raids (including one similar, where ~20 raiders killed almost all of the adults again and destroyed most buildings), and somehow recovered. So my year 37 city has only 181 population, but - they’re defended, we have crossbows, and seem OK.

I guess it does happen. But it was wild - had never seen that level of armor and persistence on early raiders before. The fact that it happened twice basically made me stubborn :wink:

More Good News. They have said that a future patch/version will add not only catapults and mounted troops, but also Raider Camps on the map that you can attack.
4 - 5 Upgraded Barracks full of plate armored Heavy Weapon wielding soldiers and it will be your turn to Cry Havoc on the Raiders for a change . . .

It would seem that the monthly cost, however, to have that level of soldiers is unbearable. There does seem to be a bit of imbalance with the number of soldiers/guard towers required to fend off attacks vs the amount of income you can generate to sustain that large of an army. Even with 3 markets and ~22 homes (large houses) per market and 2 foundries producing gold it’s difficult to keep up with 1 barracks and 18 stone towers.

I do think the balance is close but currently skewed towards too much gold required for upkeep vs the amount you’re able to produce given the population size and the number of workers to generate raw materials to fuel a large income.

No question, the game is full of points of very acute balancing acts, and Income versus Military Expenses is one of them.

My solutions, and they are by no means perfect, are:

  1. Build more markets as soon as I can. By the time I hit Tier 3 (stone walls) I generally have at least 4 - 5 Markets with houses around them generating income. Even one extra Market can be the difference between having enough Income for complete coverage of your walls by towers and not having it, and not having it means the Raiders will go straight for the uncovered section of wall.

  2. Get houses upgraded 1 Tier as soon as possible, which gives you +1 Gold per House. This has been made much easier in 0.9 by the addition of Desirabilty from Shrines. Build a Shrine and a School near each Market, and between them they virtually guarantee most of the houses around that market will hit 30 Desirability and be upgradable to the 2nd Tier. I used to struggle to get enough housing with enough Desirability early in the game before I could afford much in the way of Ornaments - no more. Upgrading even the houses immediately next to the Market-Shrine-School combination can add +15 to +20 per Market: that’s 3 - 4 more Towers right there.

  3. I invest heavily in Hunters first thing. If necessary, that means 2+ Hunter Huts per Deer spawn, but the Food is only part of it: Hunters are the only armed folks I have until l have more income, so they have to take care of the first Raid or two with whatever Towers I can build to slow down the Raiders. This usually requires that I micro-manage each Hunter during the Raid, but before I can afford a Barracks and Troops, it has kept me reasonably intact.

  4. If I can only afford 1 - 2 towers before the first Raid arrives, they go next to the Markets. Markets (and Storage buildings) seem to be a magnet for Raiders, so having them trot right into range of the towers by the Markets assures that I get the maximum ‘bang for the buck’ from the towers. With Hunters lurking about picking off the wounded Raiders, I can generally get through the first raid or two without complete Wall coverage.

  5. I frequently build Barracks before I can afford to fill them with troops. The Barracks itself only costs 5 Gold, or the same as a Tower, but with even 2 - 3 soldiers armed only with Bows inside (before I have a iron/coal chain set up to manufacture weapons) provides more defensive fire than an early tower, and of course later as I can afford it they can be filled with fully-armed and armored troops.

Note that even 2 - 4 troops with any kind of weapons or the same number of Hunters can take out a Battering Ram before it can get through a wall, if you can reach it before the rest of the Raiders catch up to it (I’ve found that Rams are faster than Raiders on foot, so they tend to rumble in on their own for at least a minute or so: that’s my Window of Opportunity to take them out before they reach my walls/towers)

This is all on Pioneer/Trailblazer difficulty, because I don’t play Vanquisher - no interest in a military game after years of playing miniatures in Ancient, Medieval, and Early Modern periods! That means I can’t really speak to fighting heavily-armed and armored Raiders from the beginning, but these tips have worked against the run of the mill Raiders at the lower levels.


The way I get around upkeep cost is more soldiers, fewer guards towers. Guard towers cost a fortune. In the late game, I can sustain a huge army of 10%+ of population, but for most of the game that’s challenging. Stone towers cost a fortune in monthly maintenance, especially relative to the benefit.

So… barracks/castles, a reserve of gold stashed in the trading post so the builders can’t get it at, and outposts built all over the map to give me early warnings of raiders. On first sighting, the gold moves to the city, soldiers are hired, and if I’m lucky, they’re all equipped and in their fortifications by the time the raiders show up.

The particular game that started this thread continues to be wild. I’m seeing attacks almost equal in size to my entire adult population. Another big group of 70+ got through and killed 100+ before they left, but we’ve made it to level 3 and the soldiers are starting to get rather better equipped. Can’t wait until I have a couple castles full of plate to play with.

EDIT: This might also be “cheating” - not really, but taking advantage of the game’s predictability, anyways - but on Vanquisher, raiders pretty reliably come every other year. On lower difficulty levels, it’s every 3-4 years. So you don’t need to fund soldiers in the years you’re almost certain to not see raiders.

I’m currently trying out a strategy with no walls and concentrating all storage around my town center. I am then putting Stone Towers (18 so far) and 2 Barracks (so far) around the storage buildings. I’m at year 76 and have weathered every attack thus far (biggest so far is 80 raiders) with minimal losses as they tend to come for my storage locations. Rebuilding a house is easy and the items they steal from a market tend to not do much harm to my overall economy. I can see, however, as this may not be sustainable in the long run as costs for more stone towers and barracks may become too great.

It’s fun to try out new ideas though!

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I’m doing something similar with my newer towns. No walls, storage and defenses near town center for overlapping coverage. Haven’t gotten to higher tiers yet with this strategy because I keep starting over, but we’ll see how far this setup can take me.

Ooh I really like this no-wall, concentrated-storage idea. As much for the storyline as the effectiveness… “come deep into my lair, a-holes…” :smiley:

The other storyline I like… “so, was it worth it?” You lost 50 raiders, I lost 30 citizens, and you got… 6 pelts and some glass.


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I’ve been playing on stream recently and if I even have viewers they rarely speak so I just babble nonsense about game mechanics interspersed with scolding villagers for doing stupid things, like “retreating” directly into oncoming raider forces. I also make fun of the raiders when my town “wins” a battle because we killed more of them and they got nothing or next to nothing in loot :rofl:

I agree @deadlystingnyc - there’s a certain satisfaction to seeing the post raid message pop where it says 78/80 raiders killed, 2 villagers lost, 0 items pillaged!!


Updated - still no walls!

Budget continues to go higher though!!

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My latest map - same thing happened. No raids for a number of years, then they got intense quickly. All was going well until… well, they got through 24 soldiers, a well defended town hall, and a number of towers and they did. not. stop.

Are they supposed to stop? :smiley:

I also met 22 armed raiders with a battering ram in Year 9, and I managed to fend them off. I guess there was a battering ram in your raiders, too. My solution is to lead the battering ram to nowhere and defeat it with two soldiers (or dozens of villagers if you don’t have a barracks). Battering ram will do a great deal of damage to buildings. So, NEVER let it come near your city.

Also, I put my market, trading post, and all my storage buildings near my city center. Thus, the raiders will attack the city center first because it stands in their way. City center can shoot all raiders that come near it at the same time when its alarm bell is ringing, which is very useful in early game defense.

Im playing with no walls as well except around the TC and storages. About the army, I think its a better strategy u focusing in soldiers instead of towers. You may lose some RDPS but you gain man power, more concentrated power which u can command and also with the relic you can save 30% of their wages. With guards, in teh other hand, u cant do so.
I think its a win-win situation here.

Edit: also, i agree the higher dificulty is really hard to manage. If u dont get a real army or if u dont build your stuff in a high place (the higher the more your army hits) you wont stand a chance.