Western Roman Empire Guide – Part 1 – Important Campaign Basics
This is the initial section of the Western Roman Empire guide. This campaign is the first “legendary” start difficulty campaign in the Total War franchise, and for good reason:
- You’re at war with a few factions, with more joining before the you reach chapter two. Everyone hates you due to the fact you’re a “Great Empire”. On top of that, your enemies are either neighboring you or traveling through your lands.
- Corruption is in the high 70s; your empire is vast but generates very little money per turn.
- Public Order is dropping across every province, due to religion, events, and immigration.
So what do you do in this situation? The goal is to survive again the odds, defeat your enemies and the Huns, and recapture/conquer land. The easiest way to go about this is to turtle up in a defensive position, build infrastructure, research technology, and build strong armies before expanding outward.
- You need to reduce corruption. Corruption is related to how much income you generate; the more corruption you have, the less money you get. The easiest way to reduce corruption is to lose territory. You can research technology later that will reduce global reduction, as well as specialize your governors to reduce corruption also.
- Your troops are expensive. You will probably recruit very few units in the first 20 turns, if any at all. However, Roman troops are some of the best in the game, which justifies the cost.
- Each province should to be food positive. Even if your overall food is positive, any province that doesn’t generate surplus food is going to suffer from a base -1 public order and -25% wealth generated (Depending on how much food you’re in the negative, that public order penalty increases). Climate change will reduce regional fertility, so you need as much food as possible to not only keep yourself food positive, but to also boost faction-wide growth and replenishment. Obviously, there are exceptions to this, but I will go into that later.
- There are different benefits to Roman Paganism and Latin Christianity. Latin Christianity spreads very well into neighboring provinces, to the point where many will swap to the faith during the course of a campaign. Religious affinity provides a bonus to diplomacy, so it definitely has its uses. That said, Roman paganism gives a +2 bonus to sanitation, which cannot be ignored. It’s up to you as to which you choose. I completed the Legendary WRE campaign with Latin Christianity.
Tips and Advice
- Don’t be afraid to lose territory. Losing territory runs counter to the conquering mindset of Total War, but by reducing the size of your initial holdings, you greatly increase ease of management, income, and defensible position.
- Be proactive in defending against barbarian factions. The Suebians in Gaul should be your first target. Following that, you will need to fight off the migration tribes (Vandals, Ostrogoths, Visigoths, etc.). and defend against incursions into your territories.
- Befriend barbarians and gift them land in non-essential land if possible. Look for good diplomatic traits (reliable, admires strong empires, religiously tolerant) in giving land gifts. This does two things: It removes a threat and reduces corruption.
- Let Western Roman Rebels take provinces. Rebels make great stumbling blocks for invaders. As they typically gravitate around the territory they spawn in, they won’t bother to leave the town after seizing it to attack something else.
- Utilize the Auxiliary Support Edict. Public Order penalties due to immigration build up over time and max out at -9. in the UI, immigration level will show a max of 15%; it can go higher but it will not be shown (You will notice it when it stays 15% even when you go a few turns with the edict enabled). You will have to shuffle governors around periodically to reduce immigration and help your public order. In fact, I found myself using that edict over most of the others roughly 90% of the time.
- Large Onagers and Ballistari are the key to victory. Your military research should be focused on reaching large onagers first. Unit upgrades are good, but none of them are as big of a game-changer as large onagers. Ballistari provide excellent armor-piercing damage and range. While their rate of fire isn’t great, you’ll need them late game when fighting stronger infantry. Combined with the large onagers, you can destroy half of an army before it reaches your front lines.
- Ambush, ambush, ambush. You should be rarely putting your fighting armies in towns, only when you need a public order boost or after a battle and need the bonus replenishment. Otherwise, they should be sitting nearby in common corridors in forests to ambush invaders. Gaul has some excellent places to set up ambushes; do this whenever you can.
Initial Core Provinces :
Why these seven?
- Good defensive position – Spain being a square shape, every province borders 2-3 other ones. It’s easy to move around and defend. The two Gaulish provinces neighbor Tarraconensis for easy access.
- Optimal resources – The land in these provinces are good and fertile, so you gain more food. More importantly, you have some good resources. Two wine and one olive resources, which generate food (and + public order for wine) at the cost of only squalor, which is great compared to farms that generate squalor and – public order. You get marble, a requirement for higher tier capitol buildings, and iron, which is a nice economy boost. But most importantly…
- Two gold mines – I believe there are only five gold mines on the map, and you have two of them at the start, and not too far from each other. By having two gold mines, this will be the key to generating a large income in a small number of provinces.
That’s all for the initial strategy. In the next section of this Western Roman Empire Guide, mid-game strategy and defensive points will be covered.