Rome Total War Barbarian Invasion Strategy Guide

       Rome Total War: Barbarian Invasion Strategy Guide 
(for intermediate players)

by: Blood Rage

Original submission made 18 Jan 2006

Table of contents

1.0 Author's note
2.0 Basic Strategies
	2.1 Troops
	2.2 Commands
	2.3 Terrain
	2.4 Buildings
	2.5 Battles

3.0 Advanced Strategies
	3.1 Targets
	3.2 Sieges
	3.3 Battle Commands

4.0 Misc Strategies
	4.1 Diplomat
	4.2 Spies
	4.3 Assassin
	4.4 Navy
	4.5 Rebels!
	4.6 Mercenaries
	4.7 Capital
	4.8 Watchtowers
	4.9 Religion
	4.10 Hordes

5.0 Factions for this guide
	followed by strategies by factions


A. Huns
A1.0 Author's note

A2.0 Basic Strategies
	A2.1 Troops
	A2.2 Commands
	A2.3 Terrain
	A2.4 Buildings

A3.0 Advanced Strategies
	A3.1 Targets*
	A3.2 Sieges*
	A3.3 Battle Commands


B. Eastern Roman Empire
B1.0 Author's note

B2.0 Basic Strategies
	A2.1 Troops
	A2.2 Commands
	A2.3 Terrain
	A2.4 Buildings
B3.0 Advanced Strategies
	B3.1 Targets
	B3.2 Sieges
	B3.3 Battle Commands


C. Sassanids
C1.0 Author's note

C2.0 Basic Strategies
	C2.1 Troops
	C2.2 Commands
	C2.3 Terrain
	C2.4 Buildings

C3.0 Advanced Strategies
	C3.1 Targets
	C3.2 Sieges
	C3.3 Battle Commands


D. Alemanni
D1.0 Author's note

D2.0 Basic Strategies
	D2.1 Troops
	D2.2 Commands
	D2.3 Terrain
	D2.4 Buildings

D3.0 Advanced Strategies
	D3.1 Targets
	D3.2 Sieges
	D3.3 Battle Commands


5.0 Questions


6.0 Credits & Disclaimer


1.0 Author's note
Again, as in my RTW guide, this guide is for intermediate players 
who have mastered a few basic skills. I again state that I have no 
experience playing in multiplayer battles. It is not a comprehensive 
guide, but rather a collection of thoughts and applied strategies. 
This guide therefore will not include cheats or codes (I don't use 
them anyway). All my postings are from actual campaigns and all 
campaigns are set in 'very hard/very hard' difficulty (which is not
very hard at all). 

I also assume that the readers would be familiar with the 
geography and terms of the game. 

As with the RTW guide, this strategy guide will be structured with 
general guides followed by faction specific guides. It is advisable 
to read the general guides first before going to the faction 
specific guides. 

2.0 Basic strategies
2.1 Troops
It is always a good idea to familiarise with all the troop types. 
one quick way is to go to custom battle and take a look at all the
units on offer for every faction. This is because you will use 
some of these units and will definitely battle against all of them 
on other occasions. 

Take note of projectile units and learn which factions will have 
siege weapons. Most of my strategies depend on projectile units as 
I like to kill from afar. 

The training cost and maintainance cost of units can be astronomical
and therefore you need to get a good grasp of it before you end up 

There are also horde troops which is a real pain. Capturing the 
last city of a barbarian faction is not the end of that faction. 
In fact, it will spawn horde armies. You will therefore need to 
prepare to kill off the horde armies when capturing the last city. 
This means having a backup army to clear the hordes.

2.2 Commands
Hotkeys are very useful. Learn them all. There are new commands 
like shield wall and schiltrom too. 

2.3 Terrain
Simple basic terrain rules - high ground good, low ground bad. 
If you place archers in the rear on a lower ground, they will 
shoot into the backs of your front lines. If the archers are 
placed on higher ground in the back, they won't kill your own 

Bridges and river crossings are good to defend if the enemy 
only come from one side. Remember that there are units which 
can swim across the river. If you plan well, they sould not 
cause much surprise and are very easy to kill off when they 
first get up to dry land. I don't recommend sending troops 
to swim across the river to face the enemy if they can see you. 

Use town/city streets for choke points and cover from flanking. 
I've also successfully used octagonal city centre defence with 
spearmen and it works very well too. 

I find forests the hardest for me to control as the trees 
obstruct the view and placement of troops. 

Try and place your units in the extremes of the open map during 
offensive and defensive battles to avoid getting outflanked.

2.4 Buildings
Buildings give bonuses but not all are useful. You need to look 
at the building browser at the start of the game and plan what 
you are going to aim for early on. 

Always aim to get the economy running first by raising all taxes 
to very high if you are able. This will hinder population growth 
but not to worry because if your population grow too fast, you'll 
have problems with keeping them all contented. The growth of a 
town/city must be controllable and if done right you can predict 
how soon you need to build happiness bonus buildings to keep up. 
Happiness is not a big problem early on, but once you are like 
holding about 30 cities, it will start to creep up on you.

2.5 Battles
Trust me, it's better to fight all battles yourself as the 
computer is very very dumb. At the start of the game, play all 
battles yourself with the target to minimise losses as unit 
training at the start is costly. 

3.0 Advanced strategy
This is where it gets fun. :)
3.1 Targets
Always have a plan to target certain cities especially if you 
play the horde factions. Setting your capital in a poor city 
will hurt your economy and prevent growth. Setting up your 
captial too late and you will find that your opponents have 
improved their armies. So always set in mind where you want 
to head to. You need to plunder enough cities too to give you 
a big boost to your economy when you set up your capital.

As for factions defending from the hordes, your main aim is 
to identify defensive sectors so that you can prevent the 
hordes from taking your cities while keeping your central 
cities safe to pump out cash. A warning to players who play 
the Roman factions is that you may have to face rebellion 
if you lose cities. 

3.2 Sieges
Again, I love sieges as attacker or defender. It is a skill 
itself. Always get a brief look at the wall before you fight 
over them. Barbarian factions now can have stone walls.

Attacking in sieges is a good and fast way to capture a 
city. Always come fully prepared. Have siege engines. I 
strongly recommend using siege towers against larger walls. 
Against the basic stone wall the siege towers will have 
arrow towers on them which can help reduce the wall defenders 
but it is rather crappy. With larger walls, you get ballista 
support on the siege towers which is great as you can clear 
one stretch of the wall with just 1 siege tower. So what I 
do is to build up to 7 siege towers. When the battle starts, 
I use onagers to destroy the defensive towers and open the 
gate. Then I get the siege towers with ballistas forward to 
face the defenders to kill them all off the walls. Then only 
1 siege tower is needed to climb onto the walls to capture 
the rest of the wall defenses along the direction of where 
the rest of your army is going to march towards the centre 
of the city. If the enemy sally forth against your ballista 
siege towers, hey, it's real cool. The ballistas will 
shoot down on the advancing enemy troops. So what I do is 
to get my projectile and non-fighting infantry (like priests, 
druids, etc.) to get the towers, freeing a few defensive 
infantry to make a defensive line in front of the siege 
towers. I get the onagers to the side and don't use them 
much at all. I place cavalry in the flanks. And believe me, 
the ballistas will make short work of the sallying troops. 
Once the towers run out of ammo, well, you have your 
released projectile units to take over. 

Defending in sieges is always extra fun. Just get all your 
troops to defend your town centre. That way they won't rout 
and fight better. Even crappy units become stronger. Cover 
choke points and just watch the exhausted enemy fall to 
their deaths. For city walls, I like to get my wall towers 
to kill the enemy for me. How? Simple... Get a crappy unit 
to stand on the wall a bit away from where the enemy will 
climb the walls. Let the enemy capture your gate and then 
they will all climb down and the whole lot will march in. 
Now, once all the enemy troops are in, just use your crappy 
unit to recapture all lost towers. Recapturing the gate 
has it's pros and cons depending on whether they broke the 
gate. If the gate is broken it's better to recapture the 
gate. If the gate is not broken, recapturing the gate will 
prevent the enemy from retreating which will result in the 
enemy unable to rout. It does mean that you get to kill 
all of them though. Lots of fun seeing whole enemy unit 
completely destroyed by my tower defences. 

Sallying forth to break a siege needs skill. The improved 
AI will not come close to your cities walls and sings songs
while your wall defences chop them down. You got to lure 
them. Depending on what troops I have, I either use the 
luring strategy or charge with cavalry. I prefer to charge 
with cavalry. Charging with cavalry is best done when 
there is not too many enemy troops. It can only be done if 
the enemy troops start to march off to the side as soon as 
the battle starts. So you got to get your cavalry all 
ready behind the gate and rush out as soon as the battle 
starts. Depending on what cavalry units you have, you can 
break the whoe siege in one big charge into the rear and 
flanks of the enemy, even all the way until they stop and 
reorganise the rest of their troops. By charging out, I get 
to destroy about half their troops even before they get 
ready. With so many of their troops routing, charging into 
the rest who are in defensive positions will be easy too. 
The luring strategy takes more time and careful planning. 
You need archer units for this, the more the better and 
the longer ranged the better. Set up the bulk of your 
archers on the wall facing the enemy. Then send out your 
cavalry and infantry with 2-3 archer units. Set up a 
defensive line with the infantry and put cavalry in the 
flanks. Use your archers to fire upon the enemy. Once they 
rush at your archers, you pull them back and lure them 
into the range of your wall archers. If they get even 
closer you have your cavalry and infantry to deal death. 
Do not worry if your infantry and cavalry routs as this 
will mean that the enemy will get even closer to your 
walls. So just kill them. The luring strategy is more 
suitable for larger enemy army. The best luring strategy 
I did was against the Samartian Horde destroying 2 out of 
3 of their horde armies, killing 3600+ troops with 12 
Lombard archers, 3 chosen axemen and 6 lancers. 

3.3 Battle commands
Formation and timing are important. Take your time to set 
up formation and get a grasp of timing when to advance and 
charge. With the horde troops, some of them do not respond 
fast enough with commands and some of them are a pain to 
command in narrow streets. 

4.0 Misc strategies
4.1 Diplomats
They are still useful but don't depend on bribery as it 
cost too much. It is vital to establish trade rights with 
richer large factions. Don't waste your time trying to 
get trade rights with the horde cities as they will 
attack you anyway and they are not rich trading partners. 
Try and get trade rights early with the Roman factions and
whoever controls Egypt. 

I'm not a big fan of alliances as they get broken all the 
time if your faction gets stronger. Don't ever depend on 
it. It is easier to get protectorates but my rationale is 
that if they are weak enough to be my protectorate, they 
are weak enough for my to kill off anyway. Why allow a 
weak faction to set up base near you and send spies and 
assasins to you while being a protectorate? I can use the 
city itself to generate more income if I can fill it up 
with peasants. 

4.2 Spies
There is more use for spies since the RTW 1.2 patch. You 
need them for counter-spying. Spies will be everywhere. 
With all the forest and potential ambush, always keep a 
spy unit ahead of your advancing army. 

4.3 Assassins
They are easier to use now. I even assasinated faction 
leaders and heirs with ease. Their main use for me is to 
kill enemy spies and assasins.

4.4 Navy
Compared to RTW, the navies of RTW:BI are smaller and 
scattered. You don't need very large fleets and most of 
my navies are for pirate sweeping and transport. 

4.5 Rebels!
Rebels pop up everywhere but now there are stronger rebel 
armies and more of them roam the map now. There are 
possible faction rebels such as the Ostrogoth, Rebel 
Western Roman Empire and Rebel Eastern Roman Empire. The 
Roman rebels are seldom a threat and can easily be 

4.6 Mercenaries
Mercs are better now. You can get some cool mercs and 
most of them are strong enough on their own and not just 
for onager fodder. They are more dependable too. 

4.7 Capital
Always try to move your capital towards the centre of large 
cities. Rome and the cities around it is good. This keep the 
big cities happier and the distance to capital will lessen 
with a city in the centre of your empire. 

As for the horde armies, plan your capital well as it will 
mean everything in the long run. 

4.8 Watchtowers
Watchtowers are very useful as advanced warning and also to 
light up areas along the roads where rebel units can appear 
and block the roads affecting trade. To get maximum view 
from towers, build them in higher elevations. No use building 
it in the middle of the forest. Watchtowers are vital in the 
mountanious regions of Asia Minor and the forest regions of 
Germany. Armies can simply pop up without you knowing. The 
rebels and hordes also love to use ambush in the forests. 

The Roman factions have plenty watchtowers at their borders 
to start with.

4.9 Religion
There are 3 primary religions in the game; Christianity, 
Zoorastrianism and Paganism (all those not in the first two). 
Your faction will in a way have an 'official' religion based 
on your faction leader's religious leanings. You will get 
unhappiness points in a city if your faction leader's or 
governors' religion differs from the practiced religion in 
the city (the city's official religion follows the religious 
building or religion converting building in the city and not 
on the % of population practicing the religion). Therefore 
to avoid having 5% unhappiness due to differing faction 
leader's religion, it's better to have one religion for your 
empire. I get very aggressive in converting cities. 

You get a lot of unhappiness from population of different 
religion. You need to watch it carefully and plan well when 
to raze the original temples or churches and convert them. 
Fortunately there are other buildings that boost religion 
such as bardic circle and academy and its upgrades. 

It is better to use converting strategies while attempting to 
capture a city. For example, I normally use a general with 
command bonuses AND religious conversion bonuses to siege a 
city. If you arrange the general's retinue and items well, 
you can get a general with very high conversion rating. In 
3-5 turns during a siege, you can convert the majority of the 
city. To boost it up, I normally send in extra 'roaming' 
generals who are crappy to use as governors and fill them up 
with religious conversion retinues to support conversion. It
is like having travelling evangelists. 

4.10 Horde
Hordes are powerful. They can overrun any resistance... or 
can they? The strength of the hordes are numbers and no 
maintanance cost. They are formidable but not invincible.

The weaknesses of hordes are low morale and disorganised 
units (can't hold a line and break up easily). Nevertheless 
they should not be underestimated. Their archers are superb 
and their elite horde infantry is way advanced compared to 
the non-horde factions. 

To defeat a roaming horde, you will either need to kill off 
all the horde armies or simply kill off all the generals. 
To kill off a horde which has settled in a city, you need 
to capture the city thus releasing a large horde which can 
be killed off as above. The horde size decreases according 
to time. Later in the game, some horde factions will not 
form hordes after you capture their last city. 

The best way to battle horde armies is to use every 
topographical advantage you can find. The aim is to restrict 
their numerical and mobility advantage. Open flat plains and 
forests are no-nos. Bridges and city walls are great places 
to kill off large numbers of horde units. Use loads of 
cavalry charges to break horde infantry. The lesser infantry 
they have the lesser section of walls they can capture when 
they siege you. Give up the gate, but no the rest of your 
towers are your arrow towers can kill loads of the horde 
units which are not tightly packed resulting in the moving 
very slowly in the streets. 

Last note, always prepare an extra army nearby before you 
release any new hordes. It's better to place that extra army 
at choke points like bridges to prevent the horde from 
venturing into the weakly defended cities you left behind. 


5.0 Factions for this FAQ (very hard/very hard)
	A. Huns
	B. Eastern Roman Empire
	C. Sassanids
	D. Alemanni


A. Huns

A1.0 Author's note
Huns... easy? Not! The easy rating you get with it is due to 
their powerful units. But to actually manage their empire is 
a pain. Luckily they don't need so many cities to win the 

The Huns have superb cavalry. Nothing compares to them. They 
just charge and charge. They are fast, they hit hard and 
they have staying power. Their infantry are rather crap though. 
They also have no infantry archers and rely on horse archers. 

The problem with the huns is their crappy economy. They also 
can't build shipyards to get sea trade! You need to let your 
enemies build the shipyards for you and capture the city after 
that. Plus their troop maintainance cost is very very 
expensive. You don't have cheap peasant units to garrison 
your cities. So you got to use runaway slave spearmen or 
herdsmen to garrison and their maintainance cost are like 
regular troops of other factions. With the crappy economy, I
was never able to get an all elite army due to the cost of it. 

A2.0 Basic Strategies
A2.1 Troops
Go cavalry all the way. You can just charge at any enemy unit 
and win. The Hun elite units are just powerful. The infantry 
is crappy but you still need them to push siege engines. Too 
bad it's difficult to train up the Hunnic elite archers. They 
would complement the elite cavalry very well. 

My combo for troops is rather mixed. I could not get an ideal 
combo though I manage to build up satisfactory armies. Just 
can't afford what I wanted. I recommend getting up to 6 elites 
cavalries, 6 horse archer units, and 4-6 infantry. The rest 
you can make up with anything. 

A2.2 Commands
Just learn to outflank and charge. Use projectiles to draw 
enemy units and then charge. Projectiles are great to weaken 
your enemies. 

A2.3 Terrain
Open terrain is great as there is no restriction to mobility. 
Use forst covers. Defending on bridge is not so great compared 
to other factions with stronger infantry as your infantry 
usually cannot hold without cavalry support. You will still 
win though as you can charge into their units easily. 

A2.4 Buildings
You'll be too poor to be so worried about it. Just be 
selective and build essentials. What you can't build, you 
capture. So don't sweat it trying to build up cities. 

A3.0 Advanced Strategies
A3.1 Targets
Since it was the first faction I played, I wanted to settle 
down fast. So, I sacked every city on the way towards 
Constantinople. I made Samartians, Roxolani and Goths into 
hordes. I sieged Constantinople, Athens and Thessalonica at 
the same time and waited it out. No point losing cavalry to 
the wall towers and while I don't have a capital, I don't 
need to pay maintainance so there was no rush. I made 
Constantinople into my capital and I could train up elite 
most of my units from there. Then I wanted to avoid battling 
the Western Roman Empire because I wanted them to be beaten 
up by the other factions first. So, I then captured Sirmuim, 
Salona (Western Rebels) the old Goth cities, the old 
Samartian capital, and the old Roxolani cities. On hindsight 
I think that was a mistake as these cities were poor and I 
started becoming poorer. Nevertheless, this kept me away 
from most of the horde armies. 

The Vandals in fact captured Italy as I struggled to raise 
enough money to prepare a third army. I never got my third 
army as the Vandals then attacked me at Salona. I defended 
well and send a mediocre army by ship to Tarentum capturing 
it in 2 turns. Have to be fast to avoid Vandal reinforcements. 
From there I captured the rest of Italy avoiding direct 
battles with the Vandal armies and attacking during sieges. 
This is because the Vandals have far superior troops from 
their wealth while my elite troops were stretched out in 
3 directions (Fanki from north, Sassanid from East and 
Vandals from West). 

Nevertheless, once I had Ravenna, the Vandals were so much 
weakened that I regained the upper hand. The campaign ended 
with 13 cities captured. Got tiresome at one point and glad 
it was over. 

The other possibility is to capture Rome as the capital 
first. That way I wouldn't have to stretch my troops so far 
apart. The risk is that I will have to face more horde armies 
in Northern Italy. The richness of Greece is not as much as 
in RTW. 

A3.2 Sieges
Sallying forth when under siege is ideal as the infantry is 
crappy. Nevertheless, if you garrison your city with Steppe
Spearmen, they are still adequate to hold the town centre 
even when outnumbered 3 to 1. There are no archers to be 
placed on the walls. 

There are no onagers for you. The best you can hope for are 
mercenary ballistas. Attacking in a siege is hard as your 
infantry is not great in fighting on the walls. So it's 
easier to wait out a siege. 

In the narrow streets your sheer numbers and powerful cavalry 
will see you through. You just need to overwhelm the city 
centre the good old fashioned way. 

A3.3 Battle Commands
Set some cavalry in the centre flanked by horse archers with 
the rest of the cavalry in the outer flanks. The infantry 
is not essential in the battle but useful as reinforcements. 

Just annoy the enemy with archers and charge the flanks. Once 
they break, charge with all your horses. Love to see the enemy 
all routing from charges at multiple sides. 


B. Eastern Roman Empire
B1.0 Author's note
This is an easy faction to play. You are rich and you have 
rather powerful units (except compared to the Huns which will 
just kill Roman units so easily). Your most powerful neighbour
the Sassanids are pushover once you kill off their early 
clibnariis. I captured all cities with this faction as it was 
just so fast and easy. 

You start the game relatively safe. The hordes in the mainland 
Europe will mostly aim for Rome and leave you alone. There 
were clashes with horde armies once at Constantinople which 
was easily beaten back and a few times at Sirmium. Other than 
that I was mostly untouched by the hordes. In fact, I hunt 
the hordes to kill them off. 

The cities in Asian Minor are mostly unthreatened. The only 
annoying thing is that the Sassanids have so much access around 
Antioch, Tarsus and Ceaserae. They just go round and round 
making them hard to pin down and constantly able to siege any 
of these 3 cities. I therefore had to use defence units there. 

But once I stopped all the Sassanid nonsense, I just ran over 
them. The main reason is that the Sassanid infantry is just so 
crappy and I dunno why they like to train up so many of them. 
I mean they could train up more of their cavalry but instead 
they want to have more of their crappy spearmen. Their 
cataphracts and clibnarii takes 2 turns to train and cost a 
bomb to train and maintain too. Elephants? Well, once you 
capture their sole elephant producing city, the will be no 
more elephants in the game unless you hire merc elephants. 

B2.0 Basic Strategies
B2.1 Troops
Being a projectile player, my army depended on the Eastern 
Archers for offence and defence. They were my first priorities. 
They were my key against the Sassanids. Somebody got to shoot 
down their horse archers. 

The infantry is dependable. Legio Lancarii, Comitatenses and 
Plumbatarii are good enough. The cavalry is decent though the 
cataphracts are rubbish. I use more scholae palatinae more as 
they have better attack points. 

The best unit though goes to the Carraige Ballista. This unit 
simply rocks. They are also the fastest to gain chevrons, up 
to 3 chevrons in a battle. They are great for taking down 
infantry and less so against cavalry. They are superb in 
killing routing infantry. The only problem is that I tend to 
fire into the backs of my infantry front line. Once you 
experience they killing power, you will simply ask for more. 
Beware though that they die easily to any attack and can be 
ourrunned by any light cavalry. 

B2.2 Commands
I use a lot of projectiles from the infantry line. They are 
great to break up enemy infantry and cavalry. I normally set 
them at fire at will. It's an all projectile army of sorts. 

B2.3 Terrain
Forests are not so great. The hordes have the advantage in 
the forests. Bridges are a boon. 

B2.4 Buildings
Aim to train up Eastern Archers early as top priority. The 
rest is economy build. It is better to choose a uniform 
religion. Identify unit training centres and build the coastal 
cities into trading cities. 

B3.0 Advanced Strategies
B3.1 Targets
You have to sort out your cities as soon as you start the game. 
What I did was to raze all temples and replace them with 
churches. You can do this in the first turn without having a 
single city rioting. In the same move I sent out every 
available unit better than a limitanei to the frontlines. All 
cavalry to the front too. I then defended the early Sassanid 
advance easily with a cavalry and eastern archers. Once all my 
rear line troops arrive in Antioch, I then camped on the bridge 
towards Hattra. I defended the bridge twice and then sieged 
Hattra. Hattra fell easily in a battle without onagers as it 
only had wooden walls. 

From there I simply went on from one Sassanid city to another 
leaving the rebel provinces alone. No point wasting time 
to capture Petra and Dumatha as they will tie your troops down. 
I wiped out Sassanids so fast because their troops are just too 
crappy. They didn't have a chance to train up any heavy cavalry 
other than the ones they started the game with. Their horse 
archers are the only annoying feature. 

Once all of the Sassanid lands are in my control, I went no 
further north than Armenia. There is little point to fight 
against the Roxolani or to capture the rebel cities way up 
north. Instead I captured Dumatha and Petra to complete the 
conquest of Arabia. 

I was very rich by then. I then sent one army to capture Cyrene 
and Lepcis Magna. My second and third army crossed to Greece to 
prepare to invade Italy. My fourth army defended the areas 
around Sirmium. 

The Western Roman Empire declared war on me and I captured 
Salona easily. From Salona I captured Tarentum and then 
northwards capturing whole of Italy. The army which captured 
Lepcis Magna landed on Sicily leaving a defence force of mainly 
Eastern Archers and cavalry to defend Africa. Carthage was a 
Rebel Western Roman Empire city by then and I saw no point to 
capture it yet as I wanted to keep it till last to complete 
capture all cities. The Berbers are just rubbish and they failed 
to capture Lepcis Magna many times, though they managed to 
capture Carthage somehow. From Sicily that army then captured 
Caralis then landed at Massila. Fighting the Western Roman 
Empire is easy because they don't build carraige ballistas and 
their archers are shorter ranged. 

All my advancing armies just headed northwards from Italy then 
branched out eastwards and westwards in Germany. 4 armies headed 
west and 3 armies headed east. Yup, I was so rich by then that 
I could afford so many large armies. The Huns were the toughest 
enemy in battle so I avoid fighting in the forest. I instead try 
to isolate their armies into smaller groups and take them out one
by one. Their cavalry are just too powerful and too fast even 
against the elites of the Romans. Cataphractii are no match too. 
Only the Scholae Palatinae is effective enough to repeatedly 
charge into the Hunnic cavalry. 

In the West, 2 armies ended up in Spain, 1 ended up in England 
and Ireland, 1 finished up France. In the east, it's more 
straightforward as there's 2 parralel roads all the way towards 
the fast reaches of the east. So, 2 armies were good enough but 
I used a third as backup in case some factions decide to go horde. 

The 2 armies in Spain then crossed into Northwestern Africa. 1 
army stuck to the coast towards Carthage and the other went into 
the interior. With Carthage captured, the game ended with all 
cities captured. It was just too easy as the eastern archers, 
plumbatarii, onagers and carraige ballistas just wiped out any 
opposition without have to worry about economy. Too easy. 

B3.2 Sieges
Use oangers and siege towers. Usually easy as the infantry is 
good enough to win walls. Carraige Ballista can enter cities and 
are great in killing infantry defenders in the town centre. 

B3.3 Battle Commands
You need to get a hang of using the Carraige Ballistas. The can 
be very filmsy at times. Otherwise just use overpowering 
strategies with your elite troops to win battles easily. 

Usual army line up: 1 general, 2 scholae palatinae, 2 
comitatenses first cohort, 6 plumbatarii, 2 carraige ballistas, 
3 eastern archers, 3 onagers, and 1 orthodox priest. 

Most memorable battle was being outplayed by the Huns' mobility 
and speed. A heavy loss and a lesson learned. 


c. Sassanids
C1.0 Author's notes
This faction is quite fun to play at the start but gets a bit 
boring near the end because of the lack of troop variety. They 
are the only faction to have elephants but the drawback is that 
you can only train elephants from 1 city. Their starting 
position is a bit crappy as you are split into the Armenian 
side and the Arabian side. Both sides are constantly under 
threat. The economy has the potential to be great if you can 
control the cities on the coast. You do get some useful 
clibinarii at the start and these units are the prize of your 
troops. Use them carefully as you need them to beat off the 
Eastern Roman advance. 

Troop-wise, the infantry is simply rubbish. One of the worst 
infantry I have ever used. The Sugdhian warriows are better but 
they are slow to train and can only be trained at specific cities. 
The desert archers have long range but are very weak defensively. 
Your hope lies in elephants and cavalry with archer support. 

The other thing which makes this faction dull is that you only 
need to capture so few cities to win the game. If you hold Arabia, 
Egypt up to Cyrene, Asia Minor, and Armenia, you only need to 
capture Constantinople plus maybe 1 more city in Greece to 
complete the game. You don't need to face the horde ot the 
Western Roman Empire. Capturing Constantinople is easy because 
if the Romans still hold it, it is usually very poorly defended. 
A real anti-climax. 

C2.0 Basic Strategies
C2.1 Troops
You can only train 2 types of infantry and the Sugdhian elite 
infantry can only be trained in the desert. The spearmen are 
very weak and has poor morale. They will always break from a 
direct cavalry charge. 

The desert archers are weak defensively but have the advantage 
of long range. Also note that their missile points are rather 
low compared to other long range archers and therefore you will 
likely lose more in a direct archer to archer shootout. 

The cavalry are decent and they are the battle winners. Elephants 
are my all time favourite and still provide the extra power. I
am not a big fan of camels are they don't have the speed of 
horses, clumsier, lose their bonus outside the desert, and most 
importantly require too high tech a building to make a big 
difference in the game. If you want to use camels, merc Camel 
Raiders are easy to come by to supplement your horse killing 
tactics. Camels do make cavalry killing much easier. 

Onagers are helpful to attack in sieges as your units are quite 
good in attacking in narrow streets with the exception of the 
spearmen. Elephants just clear a path easily.

C2.2 Commands
Most of your units are fast moving. Use this mobility well and 
do not hesitate to change formations or positions often in a 
battle. A lot of outflanking moves. 

C2.3 Terrain
The desert is your home and you get bonuses there. Mobility 
isn't so much an issue and therefore they can fight easily in all 

C3.0 Advanced Strategies
C3.1 Targets
Isn't it obvious where you should aim to? Antioch! At the start 
you have to face conflicts from 2 fronts while only able to 
afford 1 good army. The spearmen cannot be relied on to win 
battles and my army is mostly made up of cavalry and desert 
archers. Horse archers are great skirmishing units to lure 
and harrass the enemy who will tire out faster in the desert. 

From the start I consolidated the small armies into one big one 
and sent all extra 'useful' troops to the front. Using bridges 
to attack or defend is not great as it restricts the cavalry 
movements. Fighting in the open desert is ideal as you can 
easily isolate the enemy cavalry from their infantry support. 

I only march on Antioch after I got my first 3 onagers. This is 
so that I can enter into siege battle ASAP. If you wait out a 
siege, your army is very vulnerable on the bridge attacked from 
2 sides and your spearmen will often rout defending the bridge. 
Yes, the archers are great to kill the enemy who try to cross 
the bridge but what happens once your spearmen are gone? Archers 
become less useful once you lose the holding troops. Then it's 
all a mad dash with your cavalry. You can still win, but can you 
hold for a few battles? With your infantry so much reduced 
after the first battle? 

I also captured the rebel city in Armenia as means to create a 
defensive city and create some sea trade income. This city I 
concentrated to get stone walls and archery range to fill it up 
with desert archers. Cavalry can be sent from nearby cities. 

It is also preferably to use more than 1 general in your 
advancing army to help increase conversion rate to 
Zoorastrianism. This is to make less unhappy cities after you 
capture them. 

So once I had Antioch, the Romans are split into the south side 
and Asia Minor. I left a defence force in Antioch (archers and 
horse archers to sally forth if sieged) and headed south. The 
cities south are poorly defended and they fall easily all the 
way to Alexandria. I avoid all rebel provinces as I don't want 
to waste time or resources. I also let Cyrene be as it's too 
far to travel and it's mostly a low tech city which won't be 
able to threaten Alexandria. Archers and horse archers defending 
Alexandria will do. Fill it up with peasants too. 

As I was attacking south, I started to train up elephants while 
Antioch produced onagers and heavy cavalry and Hattra produced 
spearmen. So my force in Antioch became my second army and quickly 
captured Tarsus and Ceaserae. From there I advanced to capture all 
Asia Minor. I also prepared a third army by then which invaded 
Salamis and Rhodes by sea. The first army in Egypt was used to 
mop up the rest of Arabia. The defence in Armenia was seldom 
threatened due to the long distance to get to it. Even when the 
enemy sends an army to Armenia, you can spot them early and train 
up enough defences by then, by training infantry based units in the 
city and sending cavalry from the other cities (cavalry alone in 
an army moves faster). 

And then I crossed to Greece and captured Athens and Constantinople 
to win the game. Easy. 

C3.2 Sieges
Use oangers and siege towers. Elephants and heavy cavalry win in 
the streets. Don't depend on infantry to win walls. They are only
good as support units and cannon fodder. I send them ahead, let them 
get attacked in the streets and then charge the cavalry into the 
enemy. The other way is to let the elephants lead followed by the 
cavalry. Elephants are great to capture city centres as there arrows 
force the enemy to charge out making weaker targets for your 
charging cavalry. 

C3.3 Battle Commands
Always watch out for your units. If you use skirmish mode for your 
cavalry archers, they will scatter like hell leaving the rest of 
your troops defenceless. I recommend you disable the skirmish mode 
on all units. Only use skirmish mode for the 1 or 2 units you send 
ahead to harrass the enemy. Do not worry if the enemy gets too close 
to your cavalry archers as the arrows pounded into them should drop 
their morale making them rout just when they clash with your cavalry 
archers. Elephants just make my day. 

My line up is made up of 6 levy spearmen, 3 onagers, 4 desert 
archers, 2 clibinarii, 2 cataphracts, 2 elephants, and 1 general. 

There is no most memorable battle as they are just plain sailing 
once I got my onagers and elephants. No brainer.


D. Alemanni

D1.0 Author's note
From the onset Alemanni looked like a difficult faction to play 
being stuck in between the might of the Western Romans and the 
aggressive Franks who has better early infantry. Defending early 
is out of the question as your neighbours will overwhelm you 
sooner or later. They are a poor faction too with little trade. 

So, what's their saving grace? What is the one thing they have 
the upperhand over their neighbours? Lombard archers! Man, these 
archers rule every other projectile unit in the region. Pair them 
up with the lancers and you have a powerful force. The spearmen 
are just so-so. Once you get to train up chosen axemen and onagers, 
then you are set to win the game. 

Playing this faction requires a lot of running around to send 
your army to capture a city in one direction and then sending 
them to another direction to defend a city. Frustrating at 

D2.0 Basic Strategies
D2.1 Troops
Lombard archers are powerful long range units. They are excellent 
city defenders. The lancers are very fast and can stand on their 
own most of the times. They also have good charge bonus to break 
enemy lines. The infantry are dependable if you can get your 
lancers to relieve them, and gets better up to chosen axemen and 
berserkers. Golden Horde units are just too high tech for a not 
so great unit. You can get merc Golden Horde earlier if you want 
to try them. Onagers are great for capturing cities without stone 
walls. Most of their units move fast too. Overall a well balanced 
faction to play. 

D2.2 Commands
Schiltrom is useless most of the time so don't bother using it 
unless your spearmen are isolated. Schiltrom just makes your 
spearmen vulnerable to projectiles and make them isolated unable 
to reinforce anyone. 

Use speed and repeated charges and archers to win the battles.

D2.3 Terrain
All terrains are fine for this balanced faction. 

D3.0 Advanced Strategies
D3.1 Targets
Knowing that I cannot sit and defend, my first move is to go on 
the offensive. My first target is the Franks capital. I get all 
available troops to march on the city. I get as many mercs I can 
recruit too. I managed to siege the city in 3 turns. The Franks 
have a strong roaming army made up of mostly lancers. Fortunately 
for me they were beside the city when I siege it in ambush mode. 
At the end of the fourth turn the Franks made a big error, they 
decided to sally forth from the city. Like most sally forths the 
AI does, they send the infantry out the front and cavalry out the 
side. So I killed all their infantry and then threatened the gate. 
The cavalry then went back inside, including the reinforcements 
and I drew the battle. My plan was to wait out the siege as I have 
less cavalry and the spearmen are no match against their cavalry. 
The Lombard Archers are not the units to win the siege. Luckily, 
the roaming Frank army decided to leave to pick on some rebels. 
This gave me the chance to attack during the siege (the city 
was only defended by 1 lancer and 1 general unit as I killed all 
the infantry earlier). I made short work of the siege though I 
lost quite a number of spearmen. The Franks then went into horde 
by turn 5. What about the Romans? Well, they are too thinly 
spread out to threaten me at the start and the Lombard archers 
with lancers defence killed off their sieging armies all the time 
during sally forth. 

The Frankish horde decided to head further west like all good 
horde should, and was out of my hair for a while. I then 
reinforced both my cities with Lombard archers and lancers. I 
get to train lancers straightaway at Campus Frankii while I get 
to train Lombrad archers at Campus Alemannii. What a good combo. 

Then my army headed west to caupture the large Roman cities. As 
soon as I captured a city, I fill it up with Lombard Archers and 
lancers. Then the army headed south to capture the city just 
North of the Alps. There was a period of shuttling my army 
northwards and southwards due to threats from the Romans in the 
north and the Samartian, Vandal and more Roman from the south. 

I managed to kill off the Vandal horde when they siege my south 
cities with careful use of onager, lancers and Lombard archers. 
I was attempting to raise my second army for the north then. 

My first army captured Mediolanum from the Romans only to be 
sieged soon after by the Samartian horde. I killed off thousands 
of the Samartian when I sallied forth practically destroying 
more than half their total horde. They never recovered from that. 

Second army then headed west into France only to be chased from 
behind by the Goth horde. So I had to quickly attack during siege 
into Samarobriva to then set up siege defence against the Goths. 

First army capture Rome next (Ravenna was a rebel city after 
getting sacked by the Samartians and was too poor for my liking). 
From Rome I headed south to Tarentum and then into Sicily. My 
third army was ready and that captured Ravenna thus sealing 
Italy. The Army in Sicily then landed at Caralis and then onto 
Massila and Arles. Mediolanum was a vital defence city against 
the west for quite a while before I capture Masilla and Arles. 

It's then just to capture enough cities to win. I captured the 
Roman cities in England and Spain to win the game. 

Other notes: I avoided conflict with the Saxons at all cost. 
That's why I did not capture Campus Frisii in the north. I let 
the Romans keep that as a buffer. The Saxons proved a useful 
trading ally in the North and Londinium became my richest trade 
city. I tried to preserve the Eastern Roman Empire as a trading 
partner but once I captured Italy they declared war by port 
blockades. I thus added Salona to my empire. 

D3.2 Sieges
The Alemanni are good in siege defence and offence. For sallying 
forth you have the speedy lancers and lombard archers. Onagers 
make siege attacking easy. 

D3.3 Battle Commands
I didn't bother to train up any Noble Cavalry as the lancers 
coupled with general units are good enough for cavalry support. 
Therefore I don't know how the Noble cavalry performs, perhaps 
better, but I preferred the speed of the lancers. 

Most of your units are speedy and can get into position fast. 
Though there are no horse archers, the lombard archers themselves 
can be used as skirmishes with speedy lancer support. 

Usual line up is 5 chosen axemen, 3 onagers, 5 lombard archers, 
1 general and 6 burgundian lancers. 

Most memorable battle is the crushing of the Samartian horde when 
I sallied forth at Mediolanum. 


5.0 Questions
None at the moment

6.0 Credits & Disclaimers
My earlier strategy guide for Rome: Total War generated some 
interest from the public and I thank those who sent me messages 
for their opinions and suggestions. For those who still keep in 
contact with me, I appreciate it. 

Again, a lot of hours were spent on this game, and I must say 
that I think RTW is a more enjoyable game. This is because RTW 
is more towards my liking of empire building while RTW:BI is 
more about the battles and little on empire building. 
Nevertheless it's fun on its own but gets tedious more often 
too. If I was given a chance to say what I think could be done 
to improve the game, I would say that a lot can be done for the 
unit controls. For example, the option to set an individual 
unit's formation so that I can move them to face where I want 
them to without having to set their length and depth again. 
Another big help would be quick unit referencing. Once I place 
all my units on the field, it's hard to keep tabs on which 
units correspond to the ones in the control bar at the bottom 
of the screen. Lastly, quick unit call up or numbering will 
make the controls more reflexive. 

I am playing this game in a much more relaxed pace and don't 
expect to make any updates soon. Currently playing the 
Western Roman Empire and experimenting with some 'radical' 
initial strats. 

I am not part of any gaming clan and do not participate in any 
forums/discussions about this game. If there is anything that 
appears similar in other publications/postings, please note 
that it would be a coincidence. All my postings are tried and 
tested at least once. Reproducibility is not guaranteed. Anyway 
if you have to copy exactly what I did, what kind of crappy 
player are you??? It's meant as a guide to incite more thinking 
into your own game, not to make clones of my playing style. I 
also imported some bits from my earlier RTW guide. 

This is my original work and any reproduction besides for 
personal playing use will require permission from myself. 
It may not be publicly displayed or distributed without 
prior permission. 

Thanks to Mommy, Daddy, brothers, and my special someone. 
Thanks to The D for gaming inspiration. Thanks to the people 
who have sent me kind messages. Thanks to Gamefaqs for those 
tight moments with other games. 

No lifeworms were known to be physically hurt or killed during 
the production of this work. 

If there is any query, I can be e-mailed at:


"We play war games to avoid doing real wars." - if no one has 
taken credit for this quote, then I'll take it.