Rome Total War: Barbarian Invasion Strategy Guide (for intermediate players) by: Blood Rage email@example.com 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 bankrupt. 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 troops. 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 destroyed. 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 game. 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 terrains. 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 times. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org. PEACE. "We play war games to avoid doing real wars." - if no one has taken credit for this quote, then I'll take it.