Total War: Warhammer 3 – Siege Mechanics Guide

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  • Besieging A Settlement
  • Siege Battles

Sieges are a critical part of any Total War: Warhammer 3 campaign. Whether you're desperately defending against the Chaos onslaught or striking back against the Daemons, adapting your strategy for sieges as opposed to field battles will be necessary sooner or later. Series veterans beware; the newest game in the franchise introduces new mechanics to siege battles, so your old tactics might not work the way you expect.

Whether this is your first Total War game or your tenth, it's worth reviewing the new siege system. Defenders especially will have new tricks up their sleeves – be sure you're ready!

Besieging A Settlement

When an army reaches an enemy-controlled settlement, a siege begins. Here's how they work.

  • The settlement will no longer produce income or make progress on construction or recruitment. Additionally, units garrisoned there will begin to take attrition, whether they are permanently assigned to the settlement or part of a visiting friendly army.
  • If the siege continues for several turns (usually ten or more), the settlement can be taken without a fight as the defenders run out of food and supplies.
  • At any time during a siege, the attacker can choose to withdraw or to attack. Likewise, the defender can choose to sally from behind the walls and bring the fight to the attacker. When a siege battle is fought, the settlement is taken if the defender loses.

If one of your settlements comes under siege, the best strategy is to send an army to threaten the attackers. Unless your opponent gets impatient, you'll have several turns to react, but each turn you wait means fewer defenders when the time comes to fight. Having a fresh force from outside the gates can turn the tide.

Unless you're feeling very brazen, the only time you should sally out for a field battle is if enemy reinforcements are on the way and you need to fight the armies separately to have any hope of winning.

As the attacker, patience is your best friend if you can afford it. Waiting for a settlement to surrender takes a long time, but if you can take a settlement without firing a shot, why not do so? In most cases, though, you'll have to speed things up due to enemy armies approaching or a need for your troops elsewhere. Attacking a settlement mid-siege still gives you an advantage, as the units defending the settlement will have suffered attrition. Even a few turns' worth of attrition can turn a close victory into a decisive one.

Siege Battles

If and when the attacker chooses to assault the settlement, a siege battle takes place. If the defender opts to sally, a field battle takes place instead.

Siege Engines

If a settlement is fortified (which is usually the case for major cities and fortresses), sieges get much more complicated.

  • When besieging a fortified settlement, the attacker can construct siege towers and battering rams to prepare for the impending assault. Each siege engine takes several turns to build but will make the job of taking the settlement much easier.
  • Siege Towers protect a single unit of infantry and allow the troops within to march straight onto the walls if they get close enough. As useful as they are, pro players generally agree that siege towers are too fragile to be reliable, especially since the unit inside loses half its troops if a tower is destroyed.
  • Battering Rams are the go-to siege engine thanks to their ability to soak ranged attacks and smash down gates once they're in position. Destroying even a single gate makes a battering ram worth the investment, as it allows troops such as cavalry, who can't climb walls, to enter the settlement and attack the defenders. Gates can also be destroyed by artillery and monsters, so if you have either of those in decent quantities, you may even be able to skip siege engines altogether.

Defensive Supplies

The defender in a siege battle has a unique resource available called defensive supplies. This can be spent to construct towers and barricades which will attack the invaders and provide cover and bonuses for defending troops. These defensive constructs can only be built at specified locations, marked with a hammer icon, and take time to build. Plan ahead and build your defenses before the enemy reaches the walls, so you aren't waiting for construction to finish while fighting.

Throughout the defender's territory during the battle are supply locations that provide a constant stream of defensive supplies. This means the defender can keep building more barricades for as long as they can hold these positions. If the attacker takes a supply location by moving a unit there and holding it, the income from that location is cut off and the defender's current constructions are destroyed. This makes them locations of critical strategic importance.

Defensive Construction Type Cost Effect
Blocker Barricade 500 Increased missile resistance for nearby units.
Monument Barricade 400 Provides differing bonuses based on your faction, usually morale-based.
Platform Barricade 300 Increases the range of nearby missile units by twenty percent.
Trap Barricade 400 Reduces the speed and melee attack of nearby enemies.
Cannon Tower Tower 900 Attacks enemies in range for moderate damage.
Catapult Tower Tower 1400 Attacks enemies in range for heavy damage plus explosions.
Piercing Tower (Small) Tower 500 Attacks enemies in range for a small amount of damage.
Piercing Tower (Large) Tower 2000 Attacks enemies in range for moderate damage with strong armour piercing.

Capture The Flag

Siege battles can be won the old-fashioned way, by destroying or routing the enemy. As the attacker, though, you can also win a siege battle by taking the settlement's key buildings, which is indicated by a flag with a war horn symbol.

It's usually at the very heart of the defender's territory, but if you can get troops there and hold the zone for a prolonged period, you can force a victory.

Naturally, as the defender, you'll want to avoid this at all costs.

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