Fire & Maneuver Advanced Concepts Guide

This guide assumes you are familiar with the game’s mechanics and know how to play it. This guide is also conceptual, as the game balance is subject to change. I have not played every country yet.



General Concepts

Fire and maneuver are at the core of this game. It is about resource management. You are limited in your resources (orders, currency and units you can buy) and have an objective (defeating enemy armies). You can win the game by making use of these resources as efficiently and effectively as possible. This guide will show you how to do this.

Select Units

Before the actual fighting begins, the first battle phase is completed. You can lose to less skilled opponents simply because you have better units. Remember that each unit and every gun are an investment. Buying many of the same type units will result in diminishing returns. Some players buy breechloaders and only fire one shot with them, or they buy rifled guns to then launch the unit into melee. They could have saved money and bought cheaper guns. Similar reasoning applies to units. Don’t buy a tough unit if you can fight on open terrain. A second way that players can waste money is to buy multiple units. It is a good idea to limit your spending on one unit to 25% of your total funds. Every unit is assigned a role, so if you buy too many units, you may end up with underfilled roles. Or worse, your units won’t be able to fulfill the roles they were meant for.


Melee Combat

The majority of units in the game do not have a melee trait, so they perform exactly in melee. Melee combat is a great way for you to trade units, especially if your quantity faction has it. Melee combat is also a great way to capture mobile non-skirmisher troops. Before you charge into melee, consider cost, cohesion and health, as well as traits. The most important factor is cost, as both units will die in melee combat. Health and cohesion should be taken into consideration as all units deal the same amount of damage in melee, so having more health and cohesion will allow you to last longer. A unit can pull back with no attrition if it has the right traits, such as shock, melee drill, and skirmisher. You should equip your unit with the cheapest guns you can afford, as it will not be firing many shots.

Focus Firing

If there are no enemy units nearby, fire and maneuver units will regain cohesion. You should aim to eliminate enemy units in one turn, so they can’t regain their cohesion. This is done by focusing as many units possible on one enemy unit. This will reduce enemy firepower and minimize the number of enemy attacks. It is not always possible to defeat all enemy units in one turn. If this happens, try to capture a unit near the wounded enemy and engage them in melee combat to stop them regaining their cohesion.

Getting Value

You should be aware of the cost of units, even when you are in battle. Multiplayer requires you to accept that you will lose units. You want to get the best value from a unit before it goes down. It’s fine if one of your Hussars is able to kill an enemy artillery unit but then dies. Artillery tends to be very expensive, while Hussars can be quite affordable. During large infantry engagements, it is important to fire only at enemy guard units. They will cause the most damage.


Fire at Will

To get more from your orders, you can set up units to fire at will. Not all units need to be set on fire. The better it is to fire at will, the fewer units that a unit can target. Remember that enemy units can move within range during battle phase. Fire should not be used at will if the unit is in a position or equipped with breechloaders. This is because once an order has been given for a unit to fire at will, it will continue firing until it gets another. Units with breechloaders can fire twice even if they have only been used once. Fire at will has the downside that you have no control over it. This means that you should not use fire at your own risk when trying to focus on one unit. Keep in mind, however, that units firing at will will shoot after all others.


You will be using only three formations 95% of time: open order, closed or attack column. The March column is not useful if you need to get to a location quickly via roads. It is very rare that a square formation is needed. Closed order is best because it has good cover and can deal with high ranged damage. Closed order is best when you need to concentrate fire on one unit or have the numerical edge. It also works well with Breechloaders. An open order formation is one that provides good coverage and ranged resistance. When you need to defend a position but are outnumbered, open order is best. It’s especially useful when the unit has ranged drills or additional range. Open order is not always the best option as damage cannot be reduced to less than one. The most offensive formation, the attack column, has more damage and speed, but limited coverage. When moving units into positions or engaging in melee, attack should be used. You can save money by changing formations less often and switching to your preferred combat formation before fighting starts.

Combat Width

Units have limited coverage so it is important to keep them close together. This will allow for overlap of coverage and allows fire to focus. One problem is that only a few units can fire per tile. In large engagements and at choke points, the only thing that matters is your DPT (damage per turn). This applies to all units regardless of how many you have. As a quality faction, you will want to fight the enemy at chokepoints and engage them with your entire army. However, as a quantity faction or skirmisher faction, you want avoid choke points and break up the battle into smaller engagements.


If you have two units on the tiles, you can move them both or change their formation with one order. While this is not always possible, it is useful for moving units forward. However, it can be helpful to quantity factions in low-order games. Combat is where time reserves really make a difference. It is possible to fire with one unit, then move it in front of another and fire with that unit. This combination of breechloaders allows you to attack four times from one tile. If at least one unit has range drill, you can kill an entire unit in one tile combat width. You can shoot while being protected by non-indirect firing artillery.

Your Orders

The simultaneous turn system makes it less reliable to have information on your enemy during the order phase. This is because the information becomes less reliable as you move into the battle phase. You should make your most important moves first, which many people do already. Many people are unaware that an order placed later in the order list can be beneficial. While the order information you have is less reliable, it also increases the likelihood that the enemy won’t respond. If an enemy fires at your units expecting them to move, but your unit moves on their 8th order, your unit will not be hit. You can then do what I call “last movement first moving”, and move your unit again on the first turn of the next order. This will give you two turns of movement without the enemy having to respond. Last move first moving is my favorite. It involves moving a light cavalry regiment into position, then charging the enemy artillery. This counters the German Krupp Guns, which are extremely popular right now. It is important to remember that fire at any moment happens after all other moves. You may be hit with fire at any time.