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Rome Total War Tutorial and Beginners Guide

Updated on July 20, 2011

Rome Total War Guide for the Command & Conquer Player

Hey, folks. I took a brave leap into the world of "Rome: Total War" even though it's a completely different world than its RTS cousin Command & Conquer. I think it's worth checking out. I have had a lot of fun with it.

If you think of Heroes of Might & Magic, it's a lot like that -- but there's not a pot of gold around every corner!

It costs like ten bucks over at Steam -- and it's kept me entertained for months!

Introduction

Getting started and past that initial learning curve is sometimes what prevents "me" from sometimes playing great games. Lots of the guides assume you know something already when you don't even know where the "on" switch is, if you catch my drift.

Even if you have played the game, I am confident you will learn a few things here.

I started this tutorial by sitting down with the game and just started writing down all of the questions I had. Even if the answers became self-evident a bit later on, I will try to keep it in the mix.

Some of the questions are from not reading the guide yet, some questions are from reading the guide, and other questions are from the gameplay and wondering what will happen next.

Some of the questions I answered will be by "genre" and others will be from beginning to end. Some I may leave without answers in case someone wants to fill in the blank!

As I go along, I hope to add videos in here too. There are thousands of videos on Youtube, but this will take you from Step 1 to Step 2 and get you well along the way. It might save you from Billy Bob's first multiplayer victory over his 5-year-old cousin. You know what I'm saying!

Oh, yes. My goal is to focus on the Imperial Campaign: Conquering 50 provinces and sacking Rome itself to become the Grand Emperor of Rome. How exciting!

Just a few more comments. I started writing this guide after only a week of play. Because of this, it was fresh in my mind what concepts were new and I wish someone had explained to me a few days earlier -- after having retreated from the Frontier back to my initial five settlements because of tactical errors!

I was thinking this tutorial was just going to be on the basics. But I have truly enjoyed delving into the intricacies of this game. Even after beating the Imperial Campaign on medium/medium difficulty, I found endless nuances I still did not fully understand and wished to explore further.

I have tried to present not just generic information -- but how that "generic" information can be used to your benefit.

Thanks for dropping by. Enjoy!

Before You Start - Unrestrict Camera View

For me, at least, the default setting for the camera view on the Battle Map was restricted. I played through the entire Julii campaign with this restriction, and it sucked.

Once you start a campaign, this default setting cannot be changed!

If you are just getting started, give yourself a break! You want to be able to scan the field on the Battle Map and see what you are up against. You can't do this in restricted camera view!

To change this, go to the main screen, go to Options, then Camera Settings. The box for Restrict Camera, just uncheck it! Bingo!

Before You Start -- How To Change Unit Size

Playing Rome Total War on a different computer, I noticed that the stacks of soldiers seemed to be larger than my first playthrough. For example, stack sizes of Peasants was 120 versus 60 before. I thought I was imagining things, but I wasn't. There is an option you can choose BEFORE STARTING A CAMPAIGN that allows you to alter stack size.

This is mainly a cosmetic effect more than a strategic effect -- although possibly it can take your troops longer to get into formation with the larger stacks. My main emphasis on this tutorial is the campaign map, so I won't comment on that right now.

My main concern is: Does this effect strategy as far as using Peasants in your Garrison? Would you need twice as many stacks of Peasants with 60 per stack versus 120 per stack?

No, there is no strategic difference! With 120 per stack, you need twice as many Peasants for the same Garrison effect.

Stated another way, playing with large stacks of 120, you need a 12-percent garrison-to-citizen ratio. With stacks of 60, you only need a 6-percent garrison-to-citizen ratio.

The bottom line is, you don't have to worry that a change in unit size is dramatically going to change the strategy or difficulty level of the game. You are not going to have to fight the same size armies with half as many men!!

Okay. So how do I change unit size in Rome Total War?

1. On the Main Menu, choose Options.

2. Then choose Video Settings.

3. Check the box Show Advanced Options

4. Under "Unit Scale" choose small, normal (60), large (120), or huge.

So if you have the computing power, the larger battles are more dramatic. Up to you!!

The Imperial Campaign - Year by Year

Please follow these links for a blow-by-blow trip through the Imperial Campaign with the Julii faction.

This is played on Medium Campaign mode and Medium Battle mode on my second complete playthrough -- so I kind of knew what to expect.

Don't get discouraged if you don't keep up with the schedule shown here. The first time through, it literally took me twice as long to finish.

Thanks for watching!

ROME TOTAL WAR IMPERIAL CAMPAIGN PART 1 - YEAR 1 TO YEAR 10

ROME TOTAL WAR IMPERIAL CAMPAIGN PART 2 - YEAR 11 TO YEAR 20

ROME TOTAL WAR IMPERIAL CAMPAIGN PART 3 - YEAR 21 TO YEAR 30

ROME TOTAL WAR IMPERIAL CAMPAIGN PART 4 - YEAR 31 TO YEAR 40

ROME TOTAL WAR IMPERIAL CAMPAIGN PART 5 - YEAR 41 TO YEAR 50

ROME TOTAL WAR IMPERIAL CAMPAIGN PART 6 - YEAR 51 TO YEAR 55

The Number 1 Key to Winning the Imperial Campaign

Maintaing Public Order - Avoiding Riots and Civil Revolts

Although there are a lot of components to Rome Total War, I found the key strategy to beating the Imperial Campaign was keeping the conquered provinces conquered.

Simply stated: This is accomplished by keeping Public Order at or above the 70-percent mark at all times possible.

Below this number, the population will begin to riot.

In the early going, I really didn't see the downside to the occasional riots that flared up. So a few citizens were killed. So what? Not like they're Roman citizens anyway, right?

(Although your original Roman settlements can riot, you get my drift.)

Besides that, doesn't this help control the population issue?

Well, a single riot, in and of itself, is no big deal.

A single riot -- isolated to itself -- only has a few negative components.

-- You may lose a few garrisoned troops. (It's usually nominal. No big deal.)

-- Structures may be damaged. (They can be easily repaired. No big deal.)

-- You may lose some population growth, which you may or may not care about. This can slow down your economic and military growth. In smaller Barbarian towns, this is not a major issue.

That being said, why worry about riots? It's the path that it leads to that is of concern!!

Unfortunately, continuous rioting leads to -- unthinkable as it is -- CIVIL REVOLT against the Roman authority. It makes my blood boil just thinking about it!

When a CIVIL REVOLT happens (as opposed to a riot), you lose control of the town and it is taken over by a Rebel group and the town must be reconquered. You no longer own the region and your hard-fought progress has taken a solid punch in the nose! Ow, that smarts!

A bloody pain in the arse, it is -- errrr, on the nose, that is -- and it puts the brakes on your great lead General, who is pounding his hooves forward and conquering the great frontier.

Moving your Generals back and forth like pingpong balls taking care of CIVIL REVOLTS can waste years and years of time. Extremely counterproductive!

After so many riots, you will definitely have a CIVIL REVOLT on your hands. It's not a "maybe" thing. When you see riots happen, run, don't walk to take care of the issue!!

The "red face" icon on the campaign map under a city will indicate the populace is unhappy. BUT if the current Public Order is 70 or 75 percent, don't worry about that red frowny face. You are not running a charity. You are running a city. This is not DISNEY WORLD!

At 70 percent, you may have a "minor" riot about one percent of the time -- quite a rare occurrence. So don't worry at all about setting right on the edge at that 70-percent level. It's worth it to max out that tax revenue!

There are a number of variables that can be manipulated to affect Public Order. The details of each of your city's Public Order numbers can be found on the Settlement Details chart. You should become very familiar with this.

The positive components are:

Low Taxes

Garrison

Buildings that give a Happiness, Law or direct Public Order bonus

Population Explosion

A visiting General/Governor with an Influence bonus (green wreaths)

The negative components are:

High Taxes

Squalor

Distance from Capital

Cultural Penalty

Lack of Governance

Unrest

Under Siege

Newly conquered lands are much more prone to riots and CIVIL REVOLT. There is a good reason for this. Newly conquered provinces have a triple whammy of being further away from your capital (Distance from Capital), a Cultural Penalty of up to 50 percent and a peak Unrest factor. Sometimes it is practically impossible to get the Public Order even above 0!

That being said, do everything in your power to get the Public Order up to 70 percent -- ASAP!

Hold on. What the heck does "Population Explosion" have to do with Public Order?

I wanted to list this close to the top because this is one of the major components I neglected in maintaining Public Order. There were times when I was trying to pacify Corduba that I thought it was just literally impossible, but I forgot about this element of gameplay.

With a high-enough population growth, you are rewarded with a Population Explosion credit under the Public Order category. So building Farms, farm upgrades and some temples (that give population increase bonuses) can directly improve Public Order!

The rationale behind this, perhaps, is a growing and prosperous community is also happier and less likely to revolt.

An example of how this works, if your population is growing at 5.5%, you may receive a 1.5-percent Public Order bonus.

Garrisons

Please see topic below!

Culture Penalty

Please see topic below!

Structures

Build structures that increase Public Order -- including Shrines and Arenas. Basically all non-military structures will add to your revenue or Public Order in some form or fashion. Because of this, in the early to mid stages of the game -- if not even later -- try to keep building non-stop. You should be able to do something right, even if the selections are completely arbitrary! They're all good! Funds should not be a major issue -- you can afford it!

It is essential that new governmental structures are built as soon as the population hits 2,000, 6,000, 12,000 and 24,000. Basically, all Civil Revolts can be entirely avoided if you take this advice. That advanced sewer system to deal with Squalor cannot be built if you don't first have the latest government structure in place. THAT"S when you will run into problems!

Towns are actually defined by their governmental structures -- not their population. For example, a city with a population of 24,000 is NOT defined as a Huge City. It is not classified as a Huge City until the Imperial Palace is built.

Once the Imperial Palace is built, further structures unlocked at this level will continue to be available -- even if the population dips below 24,000! (One reason not to worry about the Plague!) Even if the population level dips below 24,000 BEFORE the completion of the Imperial Palace, all systems are go for accessing these structures!

Razing Structures

You should immediately destroy all Barbarian structures possible to decrease the Culture Penalty, if you feel it is warranted. If this town is going to be a non-military town, you can immediately destroy at least four structures -- the Barbarian equivalents to the Barracks, Stable, Archery Range and Blacksmith.

You can actually make a few denarii by destroying these pagan buildings. Once these structures are demolished, the corresponding Roman structure can be built to replace them, if needed.

Other structures have benefits that may outweigh the Culture Penalty associated with the building, such as the Barbarian Tavern, that does not have a Roman equivalent! (Quite sad, actually!)

Much more on this topic in the Culture Penalty section!

Squalor

The good news -- if you can call it that -- is that Squalor is now capped at 100 percent on the current version. It used to be 125 percent!

Because of this, no further Squalor penalty is encountered for populations over 30,000. One more reason not to have a population phobia!

I have had towns of around 40,000 population, and I kept waiting with anticipation and dread for the population crisis to hit. It never did! Things were actually quite orderly! Just keep the latest Sewer upgrades coming and you'll be just fine!

Distance to Capital

Nothing much you can do about this except to move your Capital to a centralized location. Just be aware that this penalty will make cities on the edges of your empire more difficult to pacify.

Unrest

Unrest is not just another way to describe Public Order or lack of Public Order. It is a category unto itself which affects Public Order.

Newly conquered peoples are not happy about being conquered -- but eventually they get used to the concept. Because of this, Unrest is at its peak when you first conquer a city and fades over time.

Most towns will eventually go down to zero Unrest. Some towns (such as Jerusalem) have a "base" Unrest level that will always be present.

Lack of Governance

With no Governor/General present in a town, you may receive a 15-percent penalty to Public Order. Or you may not! Maybe it's a glitch in the program or maybe it's reasoning that I just don't understand, but most of the time I did not receive this penalty!!

Keep an eye on your Settlement Detail panel to see if a particular city has this penalty or not.

Under Siege

Being attacked by enemy forces has a negative effect on Public Order -- a 10-percent hit, to be exact.

The Number 1 Key to Staying Organized

I will keep this short and to the point. This also has to do with Public Order. Go to the Settlements Overview Screen -- (I know you can find it) -- and click on Public Order.

Clicking on Public Order once will bring the cities with the highest Public Order to the top of the screen.

Click on Public Order a second time will bring the cities with the lowest Public Order to the top of the screen.

I know at least one person who stopped playing midway through the game -- and I think it was because it just became too disorganized for them.

By using this technique to view the highest and lowest Public Order levels, you can quickly take action to (1) raise taxes on cities with high Public Order and (2) immediately take steps to improve the Public Order with all of the techniques listed above.

Now, your mind is cleared of all those cobwebs and you are ready to conquer the rest of the Roman Empire!

Any other organization techniques?

Nothing that earth shattering. You can go over to Military Forces and click on the subheading Soldiers to bring the Armies with the largest number of troops to the top of the screen. This is a good way to make sure your military is being put to good use and not just burning through the Denarii with upkeep charges. (You never know. You might have a large Army parked on a ship somewhere that you forgot about!) Also, you can double-check that you really want your Garrisons to be as large as they are.

Garrisons

Garrisons can have an extremely positive effect on Public Order, especially in smaller towns, as the bonus is calculated as a ratio of troops garrisoned and the total population of the city.

The highest percentage that Garrisons can add to Public Order is 80 percent. With small Barbarian towns with populations of less than 1,000, this can be accomplished with just a single stack of Peasants.

After doing extensive calculations for a few hours, I came to a startlingly simple conclusion:

Each stack of Peasants will give you the maximum Garrison bonus for exactly 1,000 citizens!

I had a few paragraphs giving percentages, but that sums it up right there! (Plus since Unit Sizes can vary, that made it even more complicated!)

When a city's population reaches 20,000, you could fill all 20 slots with Peasants and achieve the 80-percent bonus. But that would certainly not be economical, as the Upkeep costs would be 2,000 denarii per turn!

Knowing this, it is quite easy to go around your cities looking at the population and then looking at how many stacks of Peasants -- or other units -- are in your city. If you have five stacks of Peasants for a town with 1,500 citizens, you can immediately retire three of these stacks and save 300 denarii per turn! It all adds up! Plus you would still be covered bonus-wise until the town grows by another 500 citizens!

This is one of the few statistics that is so straight-forward -- as compared to the mysterious tax formula!

This ratio stays the same even if you don't get the full 80-percent bonus. Two stacks of peasants for a town with 4,000 citizens, you will receive a 40-percent bonus -- one stack for 4,000 citizens, a 20-percent bonus. (25% of the 80-percent max)

The quality of troops in the Garrison does not enter into the calculation -- so if at all possible, fill the garrison with Peasants. Peasants have the most units per stack and only cost 100 denarii per turn to maintain. The next best units will be Town Watch.

A few points on strategy for fine-tuning your Garrison strategy:

* After conquering a new town, move the conquering army just slightly outside of the settlement. The Public Order will probably dip close to zero. Keep adding troops back in until you achieve an 80-percent Garrison bonus. There is no point in putting additional troops in above this point, especially if it is IMPOSSIBLE to reach 70-percent Public Order on that particular turn. If you have more troops than necessary during a riot you will lose more troops than necessary during the conflict!!

* Be patient. Do not let the army leave the area until the town is stabilized! Alternatively, have a "backup" army following your lead General around to help stabilize new provinces. Better yet, have a "Peasant" army follow your lead General around!

Note: It's possible I was "too patient" in my early game playing. Once you realize just a small portion of your army is needed to reach that 80-percent Garrison bonus, there is no use hanging around with the large percentage of your army -- even if Public Order is below 70 percent! Get back on the road!!

* Recruit Peasants nonstop until the maximum Garrison bonus is reached. In small Barbarian towns, sometimes the population is so low you cannot recruit Peasants. This happens when the population gets down to about 500. (Population levels for citizens cannot drop below 400, even with the Plague!) You may notice that it is possible to recruit Town Watch but not Peasants -- that the Peasant selection is faded out. That's because you can only recruit a lower number of units because of the small population cap.

* If you are not capable of recruiting Peasants and population is not an issue, make sure the governmental structure of that town is not damaged. Damaged structures may lose their capability to produce units!

* Many times it's helpful to recruit Peasants from neighboring towns. You can set the rally point from the neighboring city to the newly-captured city. This will help your army leave the area sooner and make better use of its time!

* Consider having your General recruit Mercenaries to add to the Garrison. It's a bit more expensive than Peasants -- but time is money! You want to keep your top Generals on the move!

* If there is a riot and troops are lost, retrain these units to get them back up to peak numbers!

* If you do leave "some" troops behind as your General takes off for other conquests, don't forget about them! As soon as the town has a 70-percent Public Order -- by whatever means available -- have them leave the Garrison and follow your General into further combat! (Of course, I am not referring to Peasants and Town Watch!) Alternatively, dismiss these units because of their high Upkeep costs.

One of the most common ways to get frustrated in Rome Total War is to go bankrupt. Having high-maintenance armies sitting around baby-sitting towns is not an effective use of assets!

Surfing the Web Bonus Strategy: If you are truly struggling getting Public Order to 70 percent, it may be possible to eek out another five percent or so by maxing out the queue with Peasants. This will immediately lower the number of citizens in the town and may increase your Garrison bonus!

Culture Penalty

It's All About the Buildings!

What's wrong with having a Culture Penalty?

Culture Penalty affects the Public Order. The better the Public Order, the more taxes you can charge.

More importantly, on cities far away from your Capital, it is of utmost importance to improve Public Order at all costs to prevent riots, which lead to CIVIL REVOLT.

When Civil Revolts happen, you lose control of the town and you must start from scratch.

Where can I find the details of the Culture Penalty?

Under Settlement Details in the Public Order section. You should become extremely familiar with this section.

What is the best way to get rid of the Culture Penalty?

Knock down Barbarian structures and/or replace them with improved structures to take their place.

The fastest way to lessen the penalty is to upgrade to a non-Barbarian governmental structure. This can knock down the penalty by 20 percent.

This is an important consideration when thinking about exterminating a population. It will take a long time to reach a higher population cap so you can replace this government structure. An extra 20-percent penalty can be the difference between a Civil Revolt and a peaceful settlement!

Does Culture Penalty disappear over time?

Errrrrr, maybe. If it does, it's a really slow process. I have seen it posted on the Internet that it does, but I haven't been able to verify it. I think what may be happening is that upgrades of non-Barbarian structures to better non-Barbarian structures can change the Culture Penalty percentage, making it appear that it happened over time.

For example, upgrading your farm from Land Clearance (the lowest form) to Communal Farming (one step up) in one scenario erased five percent of Culture Penalty. In another example, it took three upgrades of non-Barbarian structures to make a five-percent change.

So even Barbarian farms give a Culture Penalty?

Yep. Anything that says "Barbarian" on the Control Panel.

Is there a hard, set value associated with each Barbarian structure? For example, would eight Barbarian structures always give a 40-percent penalty?

Nope. It is "roughly" (not exactly) based on a percentage of other non-Barbarian structures in the city. There is a cap of a 50-percent Cultural Penalty even if all structures are Barbarian.

Here are some examples:

With the Warrior's Hold and eight other Barbarian structures, the penalty is 40 percent.

But even with the Warrior's Hold and four other structures, the penalty is still 40 percent. After this, each destroyed structure will bring down the penalty five percent. (Except for the Warrior's Hold, of course!)

This percentage will change depending how many other non-Barbarian structures there are.

I destroyed some Barbarian structures and my Cultural Penalty hasn't changed. What's the deal?

First, the Cultural Penalty will not change until you end the turn. This makes it a little bit tougher for new players to figure out how to "manipulate" this percentage. Trust me, the next turn, you will see the positive results of razing the Barbarian buildings.

Secondly, sometimes there are so many Barbarian structures, knocking down a single one won't change the cultural penalty. The value changes in five-percent increments.

Another example: If there are ONLY Barbarian structures in a town, and you raze the Stable, Archery Range and Barracks, you will still have the maximum 50-percent Culture Penalty -- because all of your other structures are still Barbarian!!

Are all structures "created equal" in the eyes of Cultural Penalty?

No. As mentioned above, the Warlord's Hold or the Barbarian's equivalent to the Governor's Villa or Palace gives approximately a 20-percent Cultural Penalty, as opposed to approximately five percent for the other Barbarian structures.

Can I just avoid the Cultural Penalty by enslaving or exterminating the population when I capture the city?

Nope. That is misinformation that is out on the Internet. Sorry, folks! Extermination makes no difference whatsoever to the penalty. None! In fact, extermination can make the Culture Penalty a much more severe situation -- because Barbarian structures cannot be immediately replaced with upgrades. (You need that population to grow to obtain the upgrades!!!)

In fact, a dangerous downward spiral can happen. Since you cannot replace structures with Roman equivalents, this can lead to riots, which will lower your population even more! I am extremely confident in stating that, for smaller cities, occupying is a much better option!

So I can decrease the Cultural Penalty by building Roman structures?

Yes, but it is more effective destroying the structure or upgrading it to a Roman structure.

Here are some examples:

7 of 10 are Barbarian structures: 40-percent penalty.

7 of 11 are Barbarian structures: 35-percent penalty.

7 of 12 are Barbarian structures: 35-percent penalty.

7 of 13 are Barbarian structures: 35-percent penalty.

Not a big difference, but it does have "some" effect!

Just double-checking -- you can get down the Culture Penalty to zero if you get rid of ALL Barbarian structures?

Yeppers! Zero-percent Cultural Penalty!

Just curious. Can I have a zero Culture Penalty even with "some" Barbarian Structures?

Actually, yes! With enough upgrades of your other Romanized structures, you can still have "some" Barbarian structures and a zero-percent penalty!

Any particular strategy for using the above advice for getting rid of Cultural Penalty?

While your conquering army is giving a huge Garrison bonus, I would go ahead and raze the Barbarian shrine and replace it immediately. That way, you don't have to worry about losing the Shrine's Public Order benefit if you decide to raze it later on.

Next or, actually, at the same time, I would destroy military structures that you don't plan on using.

Consider rebuilding their Roman equivalents to have a higher ratio of Roman-to-Barbarian structures.

Next, I would destroy financial structures one at a time, (Ports are considered financial structures) and then replace them with a Roman equivalent before destroying the next one.

Alternately, just destroy them all en masse -- if you are worried that you will get distracted later on -- and go ahead and queue them all up for future construction.

Next, if you find it necessary, destroy structures that give Public Order bonuses, immediately replacing them with the Roman equivalent.

Along the way, upgrade as soon as possible to replace Farms, Walls and Warlord's Halls, since these structures cannot be destroyed.

If you are fortunate enough to capture a city right below the population level of 2,000, 6,000, 12,000 or 24,000 you may want to consider not destroying certain Barbarian structures, because you will soon be able to upgrade them -- versus rebuilding and THEN upgrading. Your call!

Rome Total War Map

I have been searching the web and can't find a good Rome Total War map. Can you help me out?

Yes! Here is the link:

ROME TOTAL WAR MAP

If you lose track of it, it's easier to find searching "Rome Total War Map" on Google versus Yahoo.

A few quick notes about the world map. You will find cities that will not be located by buying map information from other factions -- since some of these cities are held by Rebels.

Three that come to mind are:

* Tara in Hibernia (modern-day Ireland)

* Themiskyra in the extreme northern hinterlands of modern-day Russia -- above Campus Sarmatae. You definitely have to go "over the mountain and through the woods" to get there!

*Nepte in the far southwestern Sahara. (Warning: Very difficult to avoid revolts with Julii faction!)

Rome Total War Manual

If you want to view the official manual, I suggest going to Steam to download it. Be careful! Going to one site to try to download the manual, it contained a virus that gave the message, "You're computer is infected!" Of course, that is the "virus," and then they try to sell you software to remove it. If you run across this, exit out of the program immediately! I totally turned off my computer totally when I got this message, because I am even afraid that hitting "no, thank you" will load a virus.

Here is the location for the manual. If this link stops working, just snoop around on Steam until you find it!

ROME TOTAL WAR MAIN PAGE AT STEAM

ROME TOTAL WAR MANUAL AT STEAM

What to Expect in the Civil War

Once you have captured 30 to 35 regions, the Senate is going to be intimidated by your growing power and will have the Brutii, Scipii and SPQR factions declare war on you.

Don't miss this declaration, as you want to act upon it immediately. As soon as the Senate requests you to assassinate your faction leader and you refuse, war has been declared!

What I did not realize until my second playthrough is that it is possible for you to start the Civil War. Attack a Scipii or Brutii faction member and war is declared!

Note: The option to "start" the Civil War is only available later in the game -- reasonably close to when it's about to be declared on you anyway. If you are curious whether this option is currently available, just attempt to attack Scipii or Brutii. It will either allow you to or not allow you to -- that simple!

The SPQR faction is basically centered around Rome and will pretty much leave you alone unless you get too close to them, so they are not to be worried about.

The Scipii's main region will be in Africa, and unless you are set up to sweep through Africa picking up more of your 50 regions, they will pretty much leave you alone and stay on their side of the Mediterranean.

This will only happen, though, if you immediately bribe the remaining Scipii cities that remain on the Italian peninsula at the very beginning of the Civil War. Otherwise, all of the Scipii forces will come to hang out on your doorstep. I highly recommend immediately bribing or conquering these cities. When I played through, the bribes were incredibly cheap -- somewhere between 30,000 and 40,000 denarii!

Again, if you have a strategy that does not require rampaging through Africa, it will bring you great pleasure watching the Scipii expending their energy expanding their empire into the Egyptian region of the map. Knock yourselves out, fellows!

On my first play-through and to date, I have never been attacked by sea from any faction -- Barbarian or Roman. Because of this, go ahead and conquer all Mediterranean islands, including Sicily and Sardinaia, if you have not done so already. They will not be counterattacked and they will be safe for the duration of the Civil War.

Situations will vary, but on my play-through, the Brutii in eastern Europe gave me a stiff run for my denarii and created a stalemate I could not break for decades. In real-life terms, for days, I was struggling back and forth battling Brutii.

One reason I believed this happened is that in my early gameplay, I went straight north to conquer the Gauls, then Spain, then Britania, leaving all of central Europe open to conquest and expansion to the Brutii.

The next time I played through, I went due east and northeast to set up a line of resistance to force the Brutii to have a smaller region, and leaving the Barbarian tribes of Britania, Span and the Gauls for later conquest. This will make Brutii a less powerful foe. When the Civil War happens, fewer Brutii regions will have to be conquered and the weaker Barbarians can be culled of their territories at one's leisure.

All that being said, the following strategy can definitely take years off your gameplay:

It is possible to conquer the Barbarian tribes with just three or four cities focusing on military production, with the rest taking care of the economy of the Empire.

This is not the case in the Civil War.

The war chest of the Roman factions is deep -- and their units keep coming and coming in swarms. As mentioned above, a stalemate can develop -- it can be quite frustrating.

You should have a huge war chest by this time of hundreds of thousands of denarii. (At one time, I had over 780,000 denarii.) Instead of wasting this money on mindless bribes, use it to dramatically ramp up your military complex. I went to six cities, then nine cities, then even more of my minor cities cranking out troops nonstop for a complete Blitzkrieg of the competition.

This turned a two-day stalemate into victory in just a few hours after changing to this strategy! Try it -- you'll like it!

I read that you only need 49 regions and then Rome makes the 50th region to win the Imperial Campaign. Is that true?

No, it's not. You need 50 regions PLUS Rome.

Update: Is there perhaps a glitch here? It seems on one playthrough it was 49 regions plus Rome, and on the other 50 regions plus Rome.

Hmmmmmm...

Do I need to conquer the 50 regions before I conquer Rome?

No. You can conquer Rome at any time. They are nothing special. Just wear down their big stacks and overwhelm the city.

When you conquer Roman cities, is there a Culture Penalty in their cities?

There is a slight Culture Penalty of about 20 percent. It is not nearly as severe as Barbarian cities. I need to double-check this, but it seems that some of this penalty disappeared over time.

Do you suggest that I occupy, enslave or exterminate enemy Roman cities?

In the early game, for reasons discussed elsewhere, I feel it is extremely important only to occupy small Barbarian cities. Large Roman cities present a different situation.

Some of these cities have 30,000 population, and with the slight Culture Penalty and Unrest factors, you don't want to have to deal with Riots and Civil Revolts at this stage of the game. It is too distracting. If nothing else, it will force your favorite general to camp out for a few unnecessary turns acting as a Garrison buffer to keep Public Order above 70 percent.

I highly suggest extermination. The cities are usually fully developed and the remaining population will be ecstatic will all of the improvements already existing for such a small population. Public Order will be absolutely no problem and you can set taxes on Very High and not have to worry about camping your garrison in the city until things settle down.

Can you declare war with just one Scipii, Brutii or SPQR?

Nope! Once war is declared, you are at war with all three of these factions.

Do you have to totally eliminate one or more of these factions to win the Civil War?

Nope! Except the fact that SPQR faction is solely based in Rome, so by default, the SPQR will most likely be totally destroyed!

Any other suggestions for the Civil War and finishing up the campaign?

Well, I have at least one more idea. If you take my advice and save your resources for building up a massive military presence (with a payroll as high as 100,000 denarii per turn) you will still have plenty of denarii pouring into your coffers if you handled your economy efficiently. Once Rome has fallen and you have 45 or so provinces in hand, have Diplomats set up to immediately bribe about five or however many cities are left to immediately finish the game.

I wouldn't do this before conquering Rome unless you are in a position to defend all of these cities from counterattack.

The Economy and Building Order

"It's the economy, stupid." Catch phrase during BIll Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign.

Besides maintaining Public Order, creating a healthy economy is the next most important aspect of game play in Rome Total War.

There is no use having a great economy if your cities go into rebellion! And the military will grind to a sudden halt without sufficient monetary aid.

It is only necessary to have three or four of your base cities used for military advancement, with all other cities focused on "stable" economic development.

(Note: Ignore the above advice once you reach the Civil War stage of the game. At that stage of the game, you should have plenty of denarii. Utilize as many cities as possible to produce an overwhelming number of military units!)

Besides strictly military structures, practically every structure will directly or indirectly aid in your economic development. Structures that improve Public Order allow you to raise higher taxes. Happiness and entertainment structures increase Public Order, thus allowing the increase in taxes.

Academies train better Governors, which can be more economically productive.

Advanced governmental buildings (Governor's Palaces, etc.) allow the advancement of your economic structures.

That being said, basically any structure will add to your economic growth, so try to constantly keep structures lined up in your queue.

The main economic structures fall into these categories:

Government Structures: Governor's House - Governor's Villa - Governor's Palace - Pro-Consul's Palace - Imperial Palace

Water Supply: Sewers - Public Baths - Aqueduct - City Plumbing

Shrines :

Farms and their upgrades: Land Clearance - Communal Farming - Crop Rotation - Irrigation - Latifundia

Markets and their upgrades: Trader - Market - Forum - Great Forum - Curia

Ports and their upgrades: Port - Shipwright - Dockyard

Roads and their upgrades: Roads - Paved Roads - Highways

Mines and their upgrades: Mines - Mines+1

Amphitheatres: Arena - Amphitheatre - Coliseum

In order of importance (very debateable), I would give the following priority to these structures:

1. Government Structures

2. Water Supply

3. Shrines

4. Mines (if available)

5. Roads

6. Markets

7. Ports

8. Farms

9. Arenas.

This is not hard and fast, of course, but here are a few comments on the above.

Government Structures. The biggest way to get in trouble economically and with Public Order (it's all intertwined!!) is to not have the government structures available to create upgrades. If you can't create upgrades, well, everything goes down the toilet. That's why there is an announcement at the beginning of the turn if a new city has expanded. That is like a blinking neon light screaming: Build the next government structure!!! Now!!

Water Supply. I put this second to make a point. Water is boring. Plumbing is boring. You don't want to think about it! But Squalor can destroy your Public Order -- thus, your economy. Okay. You get the point now! Just build the Water Supply ASAP and get it over with so you can go on to more exciting stuff!

Shrines. I don't really think Shrines are third in importance in the economy, but, again, think about that Public Order-Economic connection. Higher Public Order, more taxes (fewer riots) better economy!

Mines aren't always available -- but if they are, party on!

Roads increase trade income but have an extremely important secondary effect: They allow the rapid advancement of your armies through that territory. Improved roads can take untold decades off of game play! There is nothing worse than waiting six to eight turns to move a short distance across the map. It's maddening!!

Markets come next, as it just screams trade income. Quick note: The third tier of Markets are "Forums." When I think of Forums, I think of entertainment and initially I kind of dropped the ball there. They are nondescript buildings and don't grab your attention -- so don't forget about Forums!!

Be careful not to view Ports just as a means to create transports for your troops and warships. Ports are a very important part of your trade revenue.

I put Farms next-to-last, as there is so much controversy that comes with overpopulation problems and the squalor that accompanies it. It would take an intense algebraic equation to figure out all of the pros and cons of Farm revenue versus possible negative effects. In early to mid town development, go all out with Farm upgrades. Once you reach Huge City status, there are plenty of things to build besides further Farm upgrades -- if you get my drift!

I put Amphitheatres dead last not because they are least important -- but because they don't generate income. Ever. They only spend Denarii at an outragegous rate -- especially when games are held daily or monthly. The only reason to have daily or monthly games is to raise the Public Order to 70 percent or higher to prevent riots. Always minimize taxes before resorting to this expensive entertainment!

Arenas are much more important in faraway regions that will have a high Distance, Culture and Unrest penalty! Also in larger cities where Squalor is becoming a factor!

In all honesty, there are no truly bad choices. All of the economic structures have their benefits -- so you can't go too far off the mark! Just build, build, build! Don't stop! This will create a snowball effect that will lead to a huge economy!

One helpful feature is that once a building is placed in the queue to be built, on the Settlement Detail, a faded icon(s) will be displayed representing the positive effect to income, population and/or Public Order. Place your cursor over the faded icon to get the updated number for that category. Place your cursor over the non-faded icon to get the number without the effect of that particular building in the queue.

On the flip side -- since we are talking about fading icons -- sometimes a faded icon shows an effect that will take place over time. For example, If you see part of the Unrest symbol faded, that means the next turn you will have less Unrest in the settlement!! That's a good thing!

15 Questions Answered for Getting Started

1. What difficulty level does this advice apply to?

I played through the mission on the medium difficulty for both the campaign map and the battle map. I highly suggest you start off at this difficulty level! Applying the advice given in this tutorial will lead to success at this level of play! Right after this section, I am going to give a list of the top ten mistakes I made playing at medium difficulty that caused me to have to start the campaign over again.

2. This game looks like fun, but I don't want to play for a week and then find out I screwed up in the first few moves and have to start all over. Is there any way to put my mind to ease about that?

I hope so. Basically, you can tell when things are not going your way. When the armies you meet up with totally kick the butt of your most powerful general that is beefed up with units, you know you are headed in the wrong direction and it may be best to start over.

Secondly, if you start losing settlements and going backwards in the number of setlements, you know it's time to start over and something is totally amiss.

On the converse side, if your lead general and his companions are making slow (sometimes very slow) progress in the right direction and your cash reserves are slowly (sometimes very slowly) growing, you can be confident things are going to be okay. Just be sure to save your game often and you should be just fine!

In the next section, I will list the top ten mistakes I made that made me start over after playing about 40 years -- when my favorite general died of old age. (Yes! Your family members die of old age in this game! Shocking!)

3. Town Watch/Peasant Upkeep is 100 denarii a turn. Is it worth the cost?

Answer: Generically speaking, yes! Of course, Peasants are more cost effective than Town Watch at maintaining Public Order. A cost breakdown analysis favors having Peasants stay in your smaller towns to increase Public Order. When public order is increased, taxes can be increased!

The troops' effect on Public Order is directly related to the NUMBER of troops, not the QUALITY of troops. Every "squad" of Town Watch has 40 units, Peasants have 60 units, so for smaller towns, use Peasants to improve your ability to increase taxes.

If you have taxes set on Very High and your public order is way above 100, you have excessive military units in your town keeping order. Either "retire" (get rid of) these units or move them to another town where they can be put to better use!

4. Are Peasants and Town Watch more effective in improving public order when there are less citizens in a town?

Yes. The ratio of military units in a town to the total number of citizens plays a role in determining how much of a public order boost you get. The smaller number of citizens, the more effective your troops are.

3. You mentioned "retiring" certain military units. How do you do that?

On the Unit Card on the bottom control panel, right click on the unit you want to retire. On the left of the screen that appears, click on "Disband Unit." Bingo!

4. Can you give an example of how effective it is using Town Watch?

Well, gosh, Town Watch units are pretty useless. They can join your General in battle, but they are extremely weak. They can add Public Order to your town, but Peasants are more effective costwise. I think the point of this question is thinking that the Town Watch "fight off" the riots in the town. That is not exactly correct. They just improve Public Order to avoid riots.

5. Are Town Watch or Peasants any good in a fight?

Not really. Basically, no! Never carry them around in your army. It's a waste of space and upkeep expense! I have heard of some folks using them as a diversion to split up enemy forces on the battle map. Hmmmm. That actually sounds like fun! One more point on this issue. A number of stacks of Town Watch can destroy some Rebel armies, especially with a General in tow! Town Watch have three time the number of hit points than Peasants!

6. Just saw a screen that said a family member has Come of Age. What is that all about?

Practically all new Commanders and Governors arrive through Marriage and children from these marriages "Coming of Age." (Later in the game, enemy commanders may be bribed into your army or even adopted.) When you see the announcement "Coming of Age," that means you have a new General to command! Congratulations!

7. Where does this General appear?

He will appear in your capital city!

8. I am just getting started and wondering how far and how fast I should be attacking with my general. Any suggestions?

Yes. A good basic rule of thumb for the beginning game is, consolidate the first five towns in the area of northern Italy, Mediolanium, Arretium, Patavium, Segesta and Ariminium. Once you feel confident with a reasonably strong army under your lead commander, head northwest to conquer the Gauls in the region of medieval France. This actually is the hardest part of the game. If you can conquer the Gauls, everything else should fall in place! This is good, solid, generic advice. Of course later, more fine-tuned strategies can be developed!

9. Should I listen to Victoria's building instructions?

Absolutely not! Even a total rookie can make better building decisions than her! She will advise you to build military structures in each town. Don't do that! Just have three towns devoted to military power (infantry, cavalry and archers/siege weapons) and all the rest devoted to economic production!! Wow! You are already smarter than Victoria!

10. Do Blacksmiths improve armor for troops in that town or is it universal for all troops you have?

Unfortunately, only for the troops that visit that town!

11. I read some really scary stuff about the problems of overpopulation. Should I plant crops and upgrade these crops for faster population growth?

YES, YES, YES! An emphatic yes! I went through my first play-through with a crop phobia and basically purchased no crop upgrades. I feared the evils of overpopulation.

Big mistake! I was suffering for cash through the first 100 years of my reign!

Try to remember this: Corn is a CASH CROP! Go to your Settlement Detail screen (I know you can find it!) and you will see exactly how much crop production is adding to your income.

Additionally, the sooner your population grows, the sooner you can get military and economic upgrades!

There are easy ways to deal with overpopulation, but you won't have to worry about this for a long, long time! By then, you will be a master of the game and can easily take care of the issues! (Hint: Initially through town improvements and eventually through controlled riots.)

12. I am just getting used to the game and don't want to get overwhelmed with too much information. Can I win the game, or at least get started not worrying about diplomats right off the bat?

Yes and no. Let me give you the very basics of Diplomats and don't worry about the rest until later.

The main use of Diplomats in the early game is to generate INCOME through Trade Agreements. Under the Senate info screens, you can see a list of all the possible factions that are out there to conduct trade with. I HIGHLY SUGGEST making a list of each of these factions and check off each faction as you move your Diplomats around the map making trade agreements with each one!

If you bargain a bit with them, you may be able to get a trade agreement and a bit of denarii added to the deal, but it won't be a large amount so don't worry too much about that.

The second way to make money in the early game with your Diplomats is to sell Map Info to each of the factions. On the same list as above, check off each faction that you have sold map info to. While you are at it, buy map info from other factions so you can become more familiar with the map.

Lots more on Diplomats later. Trying to keep to the basics right now! One more use for them under the next question!

13. I feel lost moving around the map. Any way to reveal more info around the map?

Just like I mentioned above, one thing I did -- and others may disagree with me -- is I actually BOUGHT map info off each of the other factions as I moved my diplomat around the Mediterranean. It's not that expensive, it's affordable, and it gives you a good feeling for what to expect and where you need to head out. You can even buy map info from the Gauls before you attack them! (Along with a trade agreement, to boot, if you wish!) This is actually quite helpful, as the Gauls cover a large portion of Europe.

Added note: Don't forget Watchtowers!

14. I understand I can build Forts around the map. Is this necessary?

I beat the entire Imperial Campaign without building any Forts. There are enough cities to garrison troops in, I just didn't see this as necessary.

Forts can be built anywhere on the map and are used as defensive structures, as opposed to Watchtowers, which just increase the line of sight. Forts will eventually deteriorate if a garrison is not maintained within -- and can be captured by enemy forces.

Note: After my second playthrough, I have a much more positive attitude of Forts at choke points. Please go to the Fort section for more info.

15. What about Watchtowers?

Watchtowers can only be built in your captured regions for a view into the next region over. I am sure you can have nuanced strategy to help utilize them strategically, but with bought map info, I never found it necessary.

Note: Uh, I have changed my view on this. Yes, you can win without them, but it's nice to see what's coming in the area. They don't deteriorate and they're cheap as -- ah, they're pretty darn cheap!

CAN WATCHTOWERS SEE THINGS YOU CAN'T SEE FROM BUYING MAP INFORMATION? Yes! Map info basically just shows where the cities are, not oncoming armies!

ARE WATCHTOWERS ATTACKED BY ENEMY UNITS? No!

The Top 13 Newbie Mistakes I Made

These are very basic, but I am trying to save you a LOT OF TIME so you can enjoy this game even more. There is a lot of material to learn and, come on, you want to play the game before reading an 80-page manual completely and surf the Internet for weeks.

Of all the concepts you have to think about, be sure to give due attention to the following! It will save you a lot of grief and you will have a lot more fun! (Besides finishing up the game a few days sooner!!)

1. Burning through cash on idle military units.

Every unit in this game has an upkeep costs, from Generals, Governors, Spies, Diplomats, military units, all the way down to the humble Peasants. Don't have a spare army just lying around and lose track of them!

In my particular case, I sent an army on a boat down to Sparta, thinking the army on board the boat would make my fleet more powerful! Wrong! They are just "hitching a ride" and added nothing to the cause! Since they were parked on a ship, I totally lost track of them.

To prevent this from happening, find your army summary screen (I know you can find it!) and it will give a list of generals/governors. This lists all of your Generals and they can even be sorted by number of units in the army!

This is a great way to keep track of your most powerful armies, by filtering the largest ones to the top of the list! Very helpful!

GIVE BETTER DIRECTIONS OF HOW TO FILTER BY NUMBER OF UNITS IN ARMY!

2. Don't screw around with your denarii. It's limited!

This may not be a major issue, but it happened to me, so I guess it could happen to somebody else. I just discovered the "bribe" function for the Diplomats, so I went around bribing this weak Rebel general and that weak Rebel general. Before I knew it, my cash reserves were gone and my empire was collapsing in on itself.

3. Expanding too quickly.

The best way to describe this is a "bridge too far." A good way to prevent this from happening is to have your lead general be at full force (all 20 unit spaces filled) or close to it before attacking -- that is, after establishing the first five-city core that I mentioned previously.

As a side note to this, I found it very helpful to have two main attacking forces. Leave the second, weaker general behind to play cleanup if any towns rebel or are captured by enemy armies.

4. Losing family members mindlessly.

The way my daughters were marrying off and all the kiddos being born, I thought I had an endless supply of generals. Not true! Quite to the contrary!

Throughout the whole game, you will have more towns to govern than you will have governors/generals. Don't lose them mindlessly in casual border disputes!

The main way I lost generals was to park them solo in a recently conquered city to improve the public order. Unfortunately, when a small rebel force comes and besieges this unprotected frontier city, the hapless general will be trapped inside. His death will be announced shortly thereafter.

Don't lose any of your generals! They are too hard to replace!

Denarii is rather tight in the early going. Don't waste it! Keep investing in your cities and keep them growing!

5. Automanaging battles.

Big, big mistake! Don't do it! I thought initially I will just focus on the campaign game and focus on the battle maps later. That's a fine thought, but the AI for automanaging battles is atrocious and your forces will be slowly decimated.

There is another reason not to do this. When you meet up with a force led by a named family member, you don't want this General to escape. With autotmanage, this General will escape EVERY TIME and come back to haunt you. When an opposing faction runs out of family members, their shelf life just got even shorter!

You don't have to be a skilled tactician to take on the battle map. Even if you just select all units and do a massive frontal assault each time, your results can be quite positive with a good general!

Try it, you'll like it!

6. Hiring Mercenaries.

When a General is out in the field (this function won't work in the cities) right click on his portrait and you are given a chance to hire Mercenaries. This can keep your General on the move when reinforcements are slow to arrive.

More on Mercenaries later. They are a bit more expensive on upkeep than your regular unit, but well worth the convenience.

Plus -- they are hired immediately in that turn -- and all units available can be purchased immeidately. No waiting! They're grrrrreat!

7. Rally points.

A good way to keep the flow of reinforcements coming to the front lines is the use of rally points. After selecting a city producing units, hold down the ALT key and click where you want your troops to rally.

If you don't use rally points, micromanaging your reinforcements is a genuine pain in the arse!!

8. Have different cities specialize in different type of military units.

It takes too much time and expense to upgrade the Barracks all the way up to Urban Barracks in different cities. Just having a single city specializing in each of the military disciplines is sufficient. All other cities can focus on income production!

9. Not using Diplomats in the early game.

I know there is a lot to learn in the early going of this game, but as mentioned previously, make a chart and have the Diplomats go forth making trade agreements with each of the opposing factions. Additionally, buy and sell that map information!

Diplomats can make these agreements with any of the faction's cities, armies or fellow diplomats!! You can bargain a bit, but don't sweat the negotations too much!

10. Ports are not just for ship building!

Ports create trade. Trade creates denarii. Denarii build strong armies! I neglected building up Ports a bit in the early game -- and this I regretted, sooner rather than later!

11. Population phobia.

I mentioned this before, but this is one of the ways I truly screwed up my economy. I am sure my finances would have been much more secure if I didn't have the bejesus scared out of me of the horrors of overpopulation.

I refused to upgrade any of my crop production -- which translate into pure revenue generation! Just check out the Settlement Detail to see how much this contributes to your income!

Overpopulation is a worry way down the road and can be dealt with efficiently.

Grow your population! Larger cities are necessary to unlock the most powerful units that will eventually make your march around the globe seem like a cakewalk!

12. Spies in your armies.

Sooner, if not later, Assassins will murder your favorite general if you do not place a spy within the army he is travelling with.

If, by chance, your favorite general dies a sudden, unexpected death, this is from an Assassin sneaking in. A Spy can detect the Assassin's attempts and should prevent this from happening. You can read more about this in other sections of the manual!

13. Not understanding Public Order.

Last but not least, I did not manage my cities effectively to maximize Public Order. I have a whole section devoted to this subject entitled "The Number 1 Key to Winning the Imperial Campaign."

Going back and reviewing Year 223 of my first playthrough, I was shocked to see the state of one city, a partial example which is given under Riots and Repairing Buildings. Buildings were not repaired, troops were not retrained and Barbarian structures were not torn down and replaced to relieve the Culture Penalty!

The Age-Old Question: Occupation, Enslavement or Extermination?

Whenever a new region is conquered, you are presented with the choice of: Occupation, Enslavement or Extermination.

With Occupation, you keep the current population in place and receive a nominal "looting" fee.

With Enslavement, half of the population is sent to all other cities currently containing Governors and the exact same looting fee is received as if you chose Occupation.

With Extermination, the majority of the population is killed off and a large looting fee is given. The larger the population, the larger the bounty.

In short, for small cities, Occupation may be the best option. For larger cities, Extermination is a great possibility to consider.

First, as noted in other sections, there is a lot of misinformation about Extermination. I have read on multiple sites how this will help Public Order by exterminating the populace. On its face, this is absolutely, positively not true! There is no difference in Culture Penalty, Unrest, etc. no matter which option you choose.

There is no category under Public Order for "Extermination" bonus!

The only difference is that with extermination of LARGE populations, your Garrisons become much more effective -- since the Garrison bonus is calculated on ratio of Garrison to population.

So, yes, in larger towns in later portions of the game, Extermination is definitely a great choice to make. This is especially true during the Civil War when capturing cities belonging to rival Roman factions. These Roman cities will have plenty of upgrades to deal with the negative aspects of population -- and with a small population Public Order will be a given and your thoughts can be directed to other matters!

One more positive for Extermination of large cities: The denarii can be quite lucrative!

In the beginning of the game, the populations of most Barbarian towns are so small the difference in these choices can be insignificant. You cannot exterminate a population to the point it falls below 400!

The difference between Occupation and Extermination in denarii may be around 23 denarii on a small settlement.

Exact figures regarding looting amounts and populations enslaved or slaughtered are presented. Be sure to look these figures over before making a rush decision.

In small towns, there can be a definite advantage to simple Occupation. The larger the population, the sooner the current Barbarian governmental building can be upgraded to get rid of about a 20-percent Culture Penalty. If the population is exterminated, you may never reach a high-enough population count to make this upgrade.

So in the beginning half of the game, I personally occupy the majority of the time.

Enslavement can be used to bolster faster growth of your major Military and Economic towns. Although I have never micromanaged to this extent, you could theoretically pull out all of the Governors from all but a select few towns before attacking a settlement to get a larger share of the enslaved population.

Naval Battles, Blockades and Transportation by Sea

Naval battle is a fairly simple concept, but it can be confusing when first starting gameplay.

Fleets are recruited from cities, just like regular troops, although they will appear at the Port of your city. Of course, you have to build the Port first or conquer a city that has already built one.

All battles are automatically fought. That's easy enough, no doubt!

Basically, the more ships (Fleets) you have, the better the odds you will win the battle. Fleets with battle experience can also receive veteran rankiing -- with multiple stars displayed to indicate their rank.

Sometimes when a battle is lost, the surviving ships will just run off. Sometimes the entire fleet will be sunk.

If you queue up a number of Fleets in your dock, they will all combine automatically at the dock into a larger group of ships. It may look like you have one fleet, but it's actually a number of them working in unison. At sea, you can also combine your Fleets.

You can break up this group at any time if you want to go in separate directions.

You can also use these ships to transport ground troops.

Additional ground troops on a ship do not make for a stronger fighting force! They are just passengers! These ground forces will be lost if your ship is sunk!

Special note: It's easy to lose track of army units that are on board ships. If you click on a Fleet and the "Army" tab is in darker letters, that means an army is being transported!

If you have army units on board and you are ready to drop them off, hover the cursor above a land area and a debarcation symbol will appear. Right click and the ship will make its way to drop them off.

Basic strategy advice:

* Try not to have large, idle fleets in the early game. It can suck up an undue portion of Upkeep costs.

* When given Senate missions to blockade a port, click on the magnifying glass icon that is shown to show you where the Port is located.

So how important is it to have a strong Navy in this game? Do I need to worry about it if I am just getting started?

Ahhhh, if you are just getting started, don't even worry about it until later in the game. You will just need a fleet or two to capture ports for Senate missions.

How do I blockade a Port?

Just take a Fleet (or group of Fleets) and right click on the Port area of that city. A battle icon will appear when you are in the right area. The Port is sometimes quite a bit distant from the city that it is connected to. You will know the Port is successfully blockaded when you see what looks like a roped enclosure go around the Port.

Can enemy ships be recruited from a Port you are blockading?

Yes!!

What's the benefit of blockading an enemy Port?

To fulfill Senate missions and to totally stop trade from that city -- hurting that faction's economy.

Is it an act of war to blockade a faction's Port?

Yes, it is, but don't worry too much about it. If you are asked to blockade, for example, a Carthagian port while playing the Julii Imperial Campaign, they are not a "natural" enemy of yours and will probably request a peace treaty soon thereafter. You may even get some denarii out of the deal if you bargain for it!

Are there transport ships and then war ships?

All ships are "war ships." All "war ships" can also act as transports.

Is there always a ship at the "Harbor"?

Okay. I know this is a newbie question, but I am keeping a lot of these in here.

When you first start the game, you are provided one Fleet of ships that has been previously built that is parked at the Port. This Fleet is ready to conduct battles or -- more importantly at this stage of the game -- transport ground troops to wherever they need to go.

If there is a ship, can I see it?

Errrrrr, yes! They are not hidden away, parked inside the Port or anything like that. You will see the Fleet icon on the Campaign map.

Conquering Regions through Sieges

Have you got nothing but time? Then why not try a siege? Yes, it's a bit akin to watching paint dry, but with a successful siege, an enemy city (and it's corresponding region) will come under your control without spilling a drop of blood.

When your General attacks a city, you will be told how many days' worth of food the city has. Once they run out of food, the siege is considered a success and your banner will be raised above the city.

Alternatively, the enemy forces will "sally forth" to meet your army.

This is not necessarily a bad thing. One of the toughest parts of fighting a garrisoned force is squeezing through the gateway with your troops as the enemy forces gang up on them rushing through the doorway. A lot of blood is spilled during this maneuver (unfortunately mainly of your own valuable troops).

It is much easier to meet the opponents on an open field. The battle plan is much simpler and easier to execute.

Besides, it takes at least one day to recruit a battering ram in the field (in the early game before you can recruit ballista) so you are already one day down the road!

In all honesty, I couldn't figure out what they were talking about -- enemy forces "sallying forth" -- in the guides I was reading, as I was never patient enough for sieges on my early play-throughs.

The quicker, bloodier route of battle saves time -- if you don't have time to spare.

The choice is yours! But it's always nice to have choices!

Question: If the city is down to one day's supply of food, does that make their troops weaker?

Nope! If they have food, they have food and will fight at full force!

Playable Factions for the Imperial Campaign

Initially, you can play the three Roman factions:

Julii

Brutii

Scipii

There are eight other factions that can be played in the Imperial Campaign after these factions are defeated in a previous Imperial Campaign. If a Roman Faction that you are not playing destroys these factions, you will not unlock that faction!!

Here are those eight factions:

Egypt

Seleucid

Carthage

Parthia

Gauls

Germans

Britons

Greek_cities

The following factions are not playable in the Imperial Campaign:

Roman_Senate

Macedon

Pontus

Armenia

Dacia

Scythia

Spain

Thrace

Numidia

Slave

Riots and Damaged Buildings

It's not the fall that's so bad -- it's just that sudden stop.

Another side issue to deal with on riots is the damage they cause to buildings in the encampment. The percentage of damage can be read on the bottom Control Panel and is also illustrated by a percentage of red overlay on the building's icon.

Although buildings don't "totally disappear," they become totally dysfunctional at a certain point and cannot perform their function. Go to the repair tab to repair the buildings for the price quoted. Multiple structures can be repaired on a single turn, even if there is a building being built in the queue ahead of it!

If your Public Order is confusingly low, this is a good thing to think about checking. Your Buildings may be in such disrepair they are not giving their Law or Happiness bonuses!!

There is just a single icon for Buildings of Fun, Entertainment, etc. because the Sacred Grove of Britannia is damaged and not producing its ten-percent Happiness Bonus.

After the Sacred Grove is repaired, the Buildings of Entertainment, etc, give a 15-percent bonus -- represented by the two building icons --versus the previous five-percent

This is kind of an interesting example because the Public Order stays at 80 percent. Why? Because the population has grown, so Squalor has increased by five percent and the Garrison is now only giving a 35-percent bonus versus 40-percent because of the same population issues. If the Sacred Grove hadn't been repaired, the Public Order would now be 70 percent!

Also, since the Market has been repaired, income has increased from 887 denarii to 1,196 denarii per turn!

While we are discussing negative effects of riots, 13 of 60 Peasants in each stack have been killed in previous riots. Retraining these Peasants will increase Garrison bonus from 35 to 50 percent -- increasing Public Order from 80 to 95 percent!

Watchtowers and Forts

This is a fairly straight-forward topic, but I wanted to make a few comments on it.

I played all the way through the Imperial Campaign the first time without using Watchtowers or Forts. I thought, why in the heck would I need a Fort? I can just hole up in a city if I want extra protection.

Well, I totally changed this view in the second playthrough because of a comment I read online that Forts seem to have a "psychological deterrence" (my words) on the Barbarians. Even though you may only have a troop of Peasants in a Fort, it might stop enemy troops from advancing toward your cities.

Placing these Forts at choke points totally blocks access to your areas of the map and are a great, cheap way to keep the enemy at bay.

Additionally, it gives you a great "heads up" as to what is coming in your direction and will give you a chance to respond to any threat as they lay siege for a turn or two!

Forts are absolutely great!

You need a Commander to actually build a Fort, and they will "vaporize" ASAP if you don't have at least a small garrison inside. They can also be captured, but don't worry too much about that!

Watchtowers are great too. I didn't use them the first time around because I was busy buying map information and thought that was sufficient.

Map information only gives the location of cities, (plus outline a faction's territory on the mini-map) but it will not show the various armies and other characters roaming the countryside. The fog of war is intense in this game! You can be standing just a few squares away from an army and you will not be able to see it!

One limitation on Watchtowers is they can only be built in your own regions. That's okay. Just build them on the outskirts of newly conquered territories. The information received is extremely helpful!

How much do Forts and Watchtowers cost?

200 denarii a pop for Watchtowers and 500 denarii for Forts. Just click on the "Construction" tab of your General while he is in the field and this info will pop up. (It's on the right side of the control panel.)

Can Watchtowers be destroyed by enemy forces?

Not to the best of my knowledge. They seem to be there forever.

If you lose a region, do you lose the Watchtower?

I don't believe so. I will double-check on this!

Any upkeep charges for these structures?

No upkeep charges!

Mercenaries

Right click on the General's picture on the control panel to bring up his information screen. On here, you will see if any Mercenaries are available for hire.

One thing I didn't realize until later in the game is that Mercenaries are different in different regions of the map. If you want to pick up a few Elephants, head over to northwest Africa! They're great! (Warning! They eat a lot and are high maintenance!!)

Mercenaries are limited and I have read that if you pick up mercenaries in an area, you will "cheat" your opponent of being able to pick them up.

Whether they recharge over time, I am not sure. I will try to double-check on this.

Mercenaries cannot be recruited while you are in a town, so step outside for a bit if you want to check if any Mercenaries are available to you at the moment.

Mercenaries, generally speaking, are more expensive both to recruit and to maintain than their Roman counterparts. Still, they make great additions to marching armies that have places to go and butts to kick.

They have the reputation to charge before being ordered to -- but, hey, no one's perfect and you have to admire their enthusiasm!

The Good, the Bad and the Assassins.

It's easy to get distracted and forget about your assassins. There's a lot going on between city management and juxtapositioning your troops for battle. Plus, they are not available right off the bat so you get used to not playing with them originally.

Another reason that initiallly you may not use Assassins is they are kind of "hidden away" under the Agent tab inside your cities. Even with a rally point headed outside of your city, your Assassins (and other agents, for that matter) will stay inside the city, out of sight and out of mind. Don't forget about them!

You can level up your Assassins, giving them a higher success ratio, by practicing their skills on Diplomats and Captains that are leading armies with no Generals. Assassinating a Captain has basically no strategic effect, except to level up your agent.

Attacking multi-starred Generals, either inside or outside of cities, is the Assassin's top task! But it won't be easy taking down a top general. Keep training the Assassin at every opportunity.

Warning! It is possible to lose your Assassin if he bites off more than he can chew. A General's bodyguard make slay him while he is attempting his mission.

Only one assassination attempt by an Assassin can be made per turn.

Is it an act of war to assassinate another faction's units?

No, it is not. These are unofficial acts of aggression.

Diplomats

Diplomats are available immediately upon the start of the Imperial Campaign. They can negotiate with other factions by meeting up with another faction's armies, agents or cities -- it doesn't matter which!

There's quite a list of functions Diplomats can perform. A window listing the options available opens up once you meet for negotiation any other faction member. (Just choose your Diplomat and right click on any faction's unit to negotiate with them.)

It is possible to bribe enemy armies or, more specifically, the General or Captain in charge of the army to join your forces.

You will be presented with one of three options -- which is not under your control.

1. The General and the entire army will disband.

2. The army will disband and the General will join your forces.

3. Both the General and the army will join your forces.

If the General doesn't specifically mention that he or his army will join your forces, this means he and his army will simply disband and leave the battlefield.

Only named family members leading armies may join your army. Armies led by unnamed captains will simply disband.

You only have one chance to bribe a General per turn. After this, he will not even entertain an offer from you. And he will be quite rude about it!

That is, until the next turn. These Generals have short-term memories. By then, they will have forgotten past insults and you should be able to bribe them for the same amount previously offered.

Generally, bribing Generals is a bit expensive toward the beginning of the game, but can come in handy later when you have stacks and stacks of denarii laying around.

An exception to this is in the mid-game where enemy Generals with small stacks may threaten even smaller cities you have conquered. It is more a matter of saving "time" than firepower to bribe these Generals if you don't have large armies in the area.

If the bribe was around 10,000 denarii, I considered this acceptable and would go ahead and take care of the issue.

Bribing Settlements

Entire settlements -- except for a faction's capital -- can also be bribed to come under your control for a very reasonable price. Just be sure you can protect the city and keep it from going into Civil Revolt before bribing it to your control!

Early in the Imperial Campaign, I bribed one region (I forget which one right now) to my control for less than 10,000 denarii.

Another example: During the Civil War, around 35,000 denarii could bribe Scipii cities on the Italian peninsula to come under my command. What a deal! These made great recruiting grounds for powerful Roman troops to finish up the end game! Not sure if that will work every time! It almost felt like a glitch in the programming, when other settlements were asking for 90,000 to 150,000 denarii!

Update: On the second playthrough, Roman cities on the lower southern peninsula could be bribed for between 40,000 and 140,000 denarii!

Also discussed previously, trade agreements and map information can be exchanged by the Diplomat.

Pay attention to how many wreaths your Diplomat has on his scroll. The more wreaths, the better he is able to bargain on your behalf.

Only Assassins can kill Diplomats. Otherwise, they are immune from the effects of war.

A Neat Trick: Spying With Diplomats

If you want to see how many regions are still under the control of a rival faction, just have a Diplomat meet up with an enemy force, settlement, etc. and choose Demand Region. A list of regions currently still available to the faction will be listed, minus their capital city!

I heard you can bribe Romans from the Brutii and Scipii faction. Is that true?

Only after the Civil War! Not before!

I heard it was really cheap to bribe these Roman generals to your command -- that it was practically considered a glitch in the program. Is that true?

Depends what you consider "cheap." A powerful General from a rival Roman faction was asking around 150,000 denarii when I played through the Imperial Campaign on medium/medium difficulty.

Is it possible to bribe the SPQR troops?

No. At least I wasn't able to.

Are there some Generals you are not able to bribe?

Faction leaders and their heirs cannot be bribed.

Also, your bribe attempts will be turned down if you don't have enough denarii in the bank. They won't pointedly bring this to your attention. They will be more subtle in their response.

Use good judgment in this regard. Especially early in the game, the price is just too high and not justified!

I just want to fight battles and keep things simple. Can I win without Diplomats?

I understand how you feel if you are just starting. Don't worry. You will ease into it. It's not urgent you use them right off the bat, but eventually you will be able to put them to good use! Just start off by sending a few diplomats around exchanging map information and trade agreements!

Is there any limit on the number of Diplomats you can have?

Uhhh, no! Diplomats have a paltry 50 denarii Upkeep cost, so have at it!

So Diplomats and other agents can travel within your armies. Does it take a space away from the fighting forces?

Absolutely not. Once you select the army, you will see there is a separate tab you can click to look at the agents traveling along with the army. If the tab is grayed out, no agents are traveling along!

Assassins

You will not have access to Assassins immediately upon starting the game. You must build a Forum first, which is about a tier-three Market-type structure.

A quick note about Forums: When I think of Forums, I think of Arenas and entertainment. That's not the case. Forum is a synonym for "Bigger Market." Don't forget to build Forums as soon as possible in your city development to keep trade flourishing.

It's easy to overlook building this Forum -- especially since it is such a non-descript square building in the building panel.

Assassins can level up in ability by practicing their skills. An easy and safe way to practice their handicraft is to assassinate traveling Diplomats or Captains of allied, neutral or enemy factions.

With Captains, the success rate is usually 95 percent. A successful Assassination of a Captain will have no measurable effect on that Army, but it will rank up your agent!

Basically, any faction can be attacked by your Assassins -- even fellow Romans!

Let me repeat that -- since the concept is so utterly shocking. Brutii and Scipii Captains, Generals and Diplomats can be assassinated by your Julii Assassins!

This kind of cut-throat treachery may be shocking to our conscience, but remember, the Civil War is inevitable. Those smiling Allies of yours will be your sworn enemies soon enough!

Assassinations are not considered acts of war -- since such covert actions are carried out by nefarious and hidden means. But if the word ever gets out -- well, let's just say Brutus is going to start looking like a saint!

The true prize of your Assassins will be Generals with about two or three stars of ranking. Family members of rival (and allied) factions are limited and this will drastically weaken their forces! More Command stars than this, and the percentage of success will go down dramatically. Even a well-trained Assassin may only have a five-percent chance of success on a powerful General.

Once a target is picked, the percentage chance of success will be displayed, and you will then have the option to carry out the attack or to seek out other targets.

Only one assassination attempt may occur per turn -- per Assassin -- even if your attempt is successful.

Assassination attempts are not without risk. Your Assassin can be executed if he is caught during the act!

Enemy Assassins

What is kind of creepy is that enemy Assassins are NEVER seen in gameplay. At least I have never seen one! One moment your General is kicking butt. The next, he is nowhere to be seen! No announcement is made to this fact -- unless the General happens to be the Faction Leader or his Heir.

It is absolutely essential to keep a Spy in the Army of your top Generals at all times.

Important: It is easy to "lose track" of the Spy traveling with your General, as Spies will stay inside of cities you conquer or visit, unless you specifically order them back out to join your General!!!

Governors and Generals

Generals and Governors are the same thing. They are considered Generals when out in the field, but Governors when they are inside a city.

Generals are named family members and are limited. Additional Generals are added as the game progresses through daughters marrying and children coming of age.

Occasionally, a Captain can rank up to the status of General through bravery in combat. This has only happened one time in playing through the Imperial Campaign 1.5 times.

It was not a very impressive battle when this happened. A Captain leading of stack of about five units attacked like a single stack and, bang, he was promoted! Perhaps it might be to your benefit to let your Captains go after these small "stray" armies!

There are three different areas of ability that a General can have: Command, Management and Influence.

Command is signified by multiple stars. These are the Generals you want leading your armies into conflict.

Management helps in running a city more efficiently. Governors that have multiple bars on the management icon you will want placed in your cities. This will directly translates into more denarii and better Public Order.

Influence, signified by wreaths, can help in areas both on the battlefield and in the city.

General Flavius

General Flavius will be your first multi-star General. You will become emotionally attached to him. He will kick but throughout the beginning of the campaign. Unfortunately, one day he will die of old age. Just wanted to warn you of that up front! It's a very sad day, indeed.

That being said, I want to bring something to your attention. General Flavius should live well into his eighties -- if not his nineties. If his death is announced before then, it's not from old age! It's from an Assassin!

Always, always, always keep a spy in your armies containing your top Generals or they will be assassinated! Enemy Assassins are not seen in the game. Ever! Their kills are not announced!

But aren't General's deaths announced once they happen to alert you to the fact an Assassin has struck?

No, that is NOT the case! I originally believed this on my initial playthrough because of the announcement of General Flavius' death as the Faction Leader.

Only the Faction Leader's death -- (and perhaps his heir) -- is announced. Any other Generals that are assassinated -- it happens silently with no announcement of this fact!

Guard Units

Each General has a Guard Unit. This is not an individual soldier but a "group" of cavalrymen. (When I first started, I kept looking for my "individual" bodyguard -- ha!) The higher rank the General, the more cavalry assigned to the Guard Unit. Each turn after a battle with losses, the Guard Unit Cavalry will be restored one horseman until the Guard Unit is back up to full strength.

Traits

On the detail screen of the General/Governor, the left column will show his list of Retinues and the right side will show a list of Traits. For some Governors, unfortunately, it seems a majority of these Traits are BAD!

I want to do more research on how all of these bad traits appear. I have read some of them are hereditary and others can be acquired just from lazing around the same city.

Can a Governor with no icons for Management and Influence actually have a negative effect on your city?

Sad, but true. Even with some icons in this area, sometimes a Governor can actually decrease the Public Order in a city and cost the city money. Pull a Governor inside and then outside of a city to see his effect on the city. If the Public Order goes down with the Governor in the city, keep him out!

If it's bad enough, don't send your General to Siberia. You can always use his Guard Unit as an extra Cavalry unit in one of your armies led by a more powerful General.

Retinues

Yes, It's Possible to Transfer Them!

It took me forever to figure out how to transfer them, so I wanted to try to explain this in a way that is understandable -- hopefully!

But first, what is a Retinue? A Retinue is an advisor that your Generals/Governors pick up over the course of the game. Each General can have up to eight Retinues.

Generally, these Retinues bring positive qualities to their masters. The nuances of their positive influence can be seen by looking at the General's scroll and scrolling over the top of the different Retinues. There will be such information as +1 to Management, etc.

Some of these characteristics will directly impact Public Order, which can make a big difference in controlling regions on the outer periphery of your empire.

Now let me get back to how to transfer Retinues. Most importantly, the two Generals must be in the same STACK. That is, they must be in the same city or in the same army out in the field.

Two separate Generals in two separate armies, IT WILL NOT WORK!

Open up the Panel for one General, then click and drag the Retinue desired to the top of the other PLAYER CARD at the bottom of the screen.

I have read that some Retinues cannot be advisors to the same General with opposing Retinues, but I have no experience in this regard.

Once you have time to micro-manage the retinues, you may discover that some retinues are better for city management and others for the arena of combat. You might want tp play around with transferring your retinues around for the best possible results!

Retinues can be acquired by different means, one of which is to visit cities with Temples or Learning Centers. For tons more info on how Temples add to your Retinues, check out Sinner's Temple Guide:

SINNER'S GUIDE TO TEMPLES

Any other ways to obtain Retinues?

Just by hiring Mercenaries, you will receive the Mercenary Captain. Fighting in battles is also a good way to receive additional Retinues.

Good luck!

Reinforcements

I created this topic after reading my notes: How do you get two armies to attack at once?

Answer: This happens when you have two of your armies "right next to each other" on the campaign map. You can figure out what "next to each other" means after playing with this for a bit. Basically, you can't move them any closer without merging armies!

When this happens and you enter the battle map, both of these armies will be fighting. You have the option to have the computer control one of these armies by checking the appropriate box before entering the battle map. I highly suggest this option, as it is extremely awkward trying to control two separate armies.

The enemy has the same ability to have two armies on the field at once. If a General is parked directly outside of a city and you attack the city or the General, you will fight both of these armies at the same time.

Try to strategize to "bait" one army away from another -- or a General away from the city limits -- so that only one of them will be fought at a time!

How do you call reinforcements?

Well, you really don't. They are either adjacent to your army and will help out or they are not adjacent and can't be "called."

Automanaging Your Settlements

I hope I am capable of brevity at times. Don't do it! It's horrible.

It will not set maximum tax rates possible and will build military structures in your financial towns, etc., etc., ad infinitum.

Bad, bad, bad!

What if I just check the Automanage Taxes Only box? Is that okay?

No! No! No! It sucks -- badly! End of subject!

Random Questions I Had When First Starting

A lot of these are super newbie questions, but if you are super new to the game, it may save you a bit of time going over these.

1. Is there any way to dismiss units?

Yes. Any army unit can be dismissed. This can be an important part of strategy to save upkeep costs. For example, when Peasants are no longer needed to maintain Public Order, they should be "dismissed." Select the unit card on the bottom of the Control Panel, right click, and an info panel will come up concerning that type of unit. There will be a small button on the left for dismissing the unit.

2. Is the Muster Field only for Barbarians? Should you raze it for denarii?

The Muster Field is definitely not a Roman structure, but you can still use it to recruit Roman infantry. Go figure! You can upgrade it to a higher Roman barracks-type structure once you have the population increased enough to replace it.

The same concept applies to all non-Roman structures. For example, Roman Cavalry can be recruited from Barbarian Stables.

It might be best to destroy the structure to get rid of Culture Penalty. Actually, military structures are one of the first structures I raze in Barbarian towns. Most settlements captured by you will not be used for military production so it will help your Culture Penalty and gain you a few denarii in the process.

3. If you upgrade your Barracks, does it upgrade troops in the field?

Absolutely not! It just gives you the ability to recruit different and more powerful units.

4. What happens when I destroy a faction? How can I tell the depth of a faction's strength?

No great announcement, pronouncement of any kind happens when you totally vanquish a faction. They just fade away into history! You can double-check that a faction is totally "extinct" by checking the Faction Emblems section on one of the Senate Panels. When you first start the game, 16 Emblems are displayed. A faction's emblem will disappear once all of its cities have been captured -- or more precisely, at the end of that turn!

There is also a graph that can be accessed to show relative strengths of the different factions.

Diplomats can be used to determine the number of cities remaining to a faction by negotiating with a faction member and demanding a region. All cities except for their capital will be displayed.

You must directly defeat a faction (not take credit for another Roman faction's work) to unlock that faction's Imperial Campaign.

5. Can you take Town Guards with you when your army travels off to war?

Yes. Town Guards can leave cities, but why would you want to do that? They are only good at maintaining Public Order inside your cities.

With one exception! Town Guards do have a "whopping" three hit points -- versus one for Peasants. If there is a weak Rebel army in the vicinity of a city and no "real" army in the area, a large group of Town Guards may be able to kick their butt! Booyah!!

6. Can you exchange troops between armies?

Yes. Simply choose one army and right click on another army to meet them in the field. An exchange panel will pop up. Yea!

7. Can alliances be broken at any time?

Yes! Wow! This game is truly realistic to actual politics!

8. Do you pay full Upkeep for troops that are not at full force? In other words, if half of them are lost in battle, is the Upkeep still the same as a stack with twice as many soldiers?

No, you don't have to pay full Upkeep. It is discounted proportionately to the number of soldiers left in a unit.

Denarii -- How Much is Enough?

If memory serves, a similar question was asked of Tom Cruise in "The FIrm." How much is enough? Is it ever enough?

Hmmmmmm...good question. Let me try to give my two cents' worth on the subject.

My initial strategy was denarii, denarii, denarii! I couldn't get enough! Every city had maximum taxation for maximum revenue -- as long as Public Order was above 70 percent or higher!!

I still like that strategy, with just a few caveats that I added recently.

On your three or four main military-producing cities, bite the bullet (yes, I know it's hard) and set that tax revenue to low or normal for faster population growth in these cities.

Reaching population thresholds of 2,000, 6,000, 12,000 and 24,000 is the only way to upgrade your city and thus upgrade your troops. The logic of this hit home as my Light Infantry struggled in the face of Heavy Infantry on the Gallic plains! No good!

That being said, you will have plenty of funds to -- basically -- nonstop upgrade your cities. Just about any improvement will return denarii in some form or fashion. Anything that raises Happiness or Public Order can be directly converted to additional funds -- higher Public Order means the ability to have Higher Taxes. Awesome!

One way to conserve funds is to not "mindlessly" bribe enemy troops. Consider Assassins as an alternative. Replacing troops lost in tough battles is often much more cost effective than exorbitant bribes.

Also, try not to have idle troops raising overhead unreasonably. Keep them busy or retire them!

Try to keep those funds going in one direction -- up! You will eventually reach the 100,000-denarii mark. Try not to fall below this, just to be on the safe side!

Northern Rome - Home Sweet Home!

This is your consolidated power base, made up of your original two Roman provinces -- Arrentium and Ariminum -- and the easily captured towns of Segesta, Mediolanium and Patavium.

Segesta is a bit slow-growing, so choose three of the four remaining cities as recruiting centers for infantry, cavalry and missile units.

Your First Conquest -- The Gauls

The Gallic empire is basically located in the area of modern-day France. With one exception -- their reach extends further west with the Gallic city of Numantia -- located deep in the heart of Spain.

This is actually your toughest conquest, as your army is young, inexperienced and not battle-hardened. Try not to make enemies as you take over the Gallic empire. Keep a secondary General in the area to battle meandering rebels and to control any rebelling provinces.

Marching on Spain

Distance can become an issue when dealing with Spain. Build roads as soon as provinces are captured to speed things up. Consider using naval units to transport your reinforcements.

There is no right or wrong order in which to conquer these factions. Brittania and Spain are both in convenient locations to continue your conquests after the Galls are defeated.

Attacking Britannia

Britannia would occasionally declare war or offer peace treaties. I kept the peace with them until I was ready to invade.

By the time the Gauls and Spain were in control, Britannia was pretty much a cakewalk. They didn't offer much resistance. I used a third-tier General with top-line troops to head to their island stronghold. Leave them in the area until any signs of rebellion are gone. No need making an extra trip to the region!

The Dark Continent - Northwestern Africa

For the Imperial Campaign, you can pretty much avoid Africa for the first half of the game. I was a bit slow expanding my empire and a rival Roman faction was just taking over as I was getting ready to invade.

Questions -- and Answers -- I Still Had After Completing the Imperial Campaign

Yes. This is a checklist I created on my second playthrough of the Imperial Campaign.

Even though a lot of these questions are answered in individual sections, I am going to keep them here as these are all questions I had after completely playing through the Julii Imperial Campaign the first time. Some I might have known and forgotten, if you know what I mean!

1. Do trade rights need to be reestablished if war is declared and then a peace treaty is agreed to?

Yes! Keep a separate sheet of all factions that you have trade with. Put an "X" through the trade agreement once war is declared to remind yourself to renegotiate another trade agreement down the road.

2. How do you find capital city quickly?

Hit the "O" key or click on the "Open Faction Summary Window" button on the right-hand side of the Control Bar. It will be right there!

3. When can you see Spies? Can you see spies that are inside of your cities? What makes the spies "pop out" of your cities?

If you have your own Spy in the area, you can see enemy Spies. Also, when Spies are first entering your city, you are able to see them when you hit the "End Turn" button. Assassins cannot spot spies inside your own cities. Place a Spy inside of your own city to "knock out" or kill the enemy Spy. Sometimes Spies are just kicked out from the AI operating in your own city with no specific actions on your part!

4. Can you build troops while under siege?

No!

5. Do spies have greater line of sight than troops?

Yes!

6. Do spies tell you what kind of buildings are in an enemy city?

Yes!

7. What can ranked-up spies do that lower-ranked ones can't? Besides raise percentage of opening city gates?

For one, more experienced spies are less likely to be killed during their missions.

8. What buildings do you need to recruit the Assassins? What is the population needed for this structure?

A Forum -- which is basically an upgraded Market -- is needed to recruit the Assassin, which is available with a mere population cap of 6,000. Get those Assassins to work and start leveling them up for more meaty assignments in the future!

9. So do Spies prevent Assassins from being as effective?

Basically, yes. It is essential to have Spies in the armies of your top Generals. Although it may not be the "spies" that kill or stop the Assassins, it could be viewed that they alert the General's bodyguards to the intrusion! Same thing with cities to protect your Governors there!

10. So it's okay to assassinate fellow Roman units? Even before the Civil War?

Yes!

11. So you can have multiple Assassins accompanying one army?

Yes! And yes!

12. Do Forts block trade routes?

Yes, they seem to at choke points.

13. Do unsuccessful negotiations level up a Diplomat?

I believe so, but I want to double-check to make sure.

14. Are bribes cheaper when one of your powerful armies is in the area?

No. There is no appreciable difference. Bummer!

15. What is the difference in bribe costs between an experienced Diplomat and nonexperienced?

Surprisingly, I could not tell any significant difference when trying to bribe a Rebel army to disband.

15a. Can you swap Retinues between Diplomats?

Yes, but you must put them in the same Army or City to do so!

16. What happens to Diplomats/agents when you lose a city?

They are kicked out, along with your Governor(s) and Army. They are not lost, though!

17. Do mercenaries get more powerful or change later in the game?

17a. So if you merely cross the line from one region to another, you can pick up more mercenaries?

Yes! Cool, huh!

18. Do mercenaries recharge in certain areas or gone forever?

Mercenaries recharge over time. The longer the pasage of time, the more Mercenaries that are available. A single unit may become available again after only a couple of years.

19. Are elephant mercenaries available at the beginning of the game?

No. At the beginning of the game, elephant mercenaries are not avaiable for hire -- even if the northwestern African city of Tingi is captured. I am not sure what the trigger is to make these available later in the game. Suggestions?

20. There are no upkeep charges for Forts, right?

None!

21. How fast do Forts disappear?

Without a garrison present, the Fort will disappear at the beginning of the next turn.

22. What happens to watchtowers in captured territories? Nothing?

The Watchtowers will stay intact, but they will become the captor's Watchtower. The map will no longer be revealed to you in this area. Recapture the settlement and the Watchtowers will again become yours again and be "reactivated."

.

23. It seems my first playthrough there were 60 peasants per stack and the second playthrough there are 120. Am I imagining things?

No, you're not. Stack sizes can be set at the beginning of the game. (See above category on this subject.) Stack size does not change strategy dramatically, but can in more minute ways -- such as emptying city population more when you recruit armies.

24. Do Retinues disappear when a General dies of old age? They are not inherited by your faction heir?

No, they are not inherited and the Retinues are lost when a General dies. They can be transferred, though, which might be a good idea on an aging General/Governor.

25. What is the benefit of being a faction leader and/or heir? Do they get extra abilities?

The Faction Leader does have special benefits. Select the Faction Leader and look under his traits. You will find the "Faction Leader" trait that will give him +2 Influence, +1 Command and +3 to Personal Security -- which makes him more secure from assassination attempts. The Faction Heir will have a trait called Faction Heir -- (go figure) -- and will grant this General +1 Influence and +2 to Personal Security.

26. Are there special events that help your Generals obtain additional Retinues?

Yes. An exhaustive list of these events would be handy. Fighting battles can add Retinues related to battle. Just hiring Mercenaries may lend a certain Retinue relating to this subject area.

27. Are some Retinues more negative than positive?

No. Retinues all seem to have positive attributes. On the other hand, Traits can be overwhelmingly negative.

28. Can visiting temples or universities affect the retinues you have?

Yes, yes, yes! I must admit for my first three playthroughs, I was never quite sure where these Retinues popped up from. Learning Centers and Shrines add to the Retinues you have -- among other events in the game. You must spend at least one night in the city to receive these Retinues.

29. So do Spies have any effect on Unrest in a city? Do they affect Unhappiness, Public Order in any way whatsoever?

Yes! Enemy spies can definitely spike Unrest in a city. If your Unrest increases -- (Public Order decreases) -- dramatically and unexpectedly, place your own spy in the city to help route the enemy spy out ASAP!

30. Why do some cities have Lack of Governance penalties and others don't?

The only thing I can figure is a glitch in the programming. Thoughts anyone?

31. Can Assassins kill Spies in enemy cities? So if an assassin clicks on an enemy city, he will be told that a spy is present?

Yes. An Assassin can attack a Spy in an enemy's city -- (or a neutral faction's or ally's city, for that matter!) -- but cannot attack a Spy in your own city. When an Assassin clicks on one of his own faction's cities, he will head toward or enter the city, rather than being given a list of targets!

32. So if an Assassin is parked in one of your faction's cities, he won't kill an infiltrating Spy?

No! Your own Spy inside the city, though, will endanger the enemy Spy's life!

33. As a general rule, do faraway factions generate less trade with trade agreements?

Yes! For example, some of your own cities can be so isolated that building a Port will not increase trade income whatsoever!

33a. Will upgrading trade structures in some cities be more beneficial than others?

Yes! Absolutely! Different cities will have dramatically different results when upgrading trade structures. Put a trade structure in the queue to be built -- and then check the "before" and "after" amount of income on the Settlement Detail scroll. (That is solid colors on trade versus grayed-out.)

34. What the heck is this about a Protectorate?

Not sure, but you can definitely win the game without it! I went around trying to "demand" protectorates and was unsuccessful. The buzz around town is that if you pummel an enemy to the point of extinction they will agree to come under your protectorship and you get to count their regions toward the 50 regions necessary to win. It seems by this time, though, you are so close to conquering them, there is no real point in bribing them into a protectorship. Plus after a few turns, they may renege on the protectorate and attack your troops. Plus it's expensive and not worth the denarii.

Besides that, give it a shot!

34a. I went to offer a Protectorate to a faction and that option was not available. Why?

Questions I Still Have and Research I Still Want To Do - Part 2

35. So signing a peace treaty with a faction will temporarily halt Julii and Scipii from attacking that faction?

36. So you can capture or control a Wonder? How do you do that? How many are there? What effect does it have? How can I figure out what effect it has?

It's quite possible no Wonders will be captured in the Julii campaign, as these territories are more in line with Brutii and Scipii expansion. It's a shame, because Wonders are a great thing to have access to. By capturing the region, that is, the capital city, you automatically gain control of that Wonder. There is no direct "attack" on the Wonder itself. Once a Wonder is captured, a screen will appear telling you exactly what bonus(es) the Wonder produces. As time allows, I will try to create a Wonders page that gives more info on each of the Wonders.

37. I read on the Internet that in a foreign territory it is possible for your Assassin to kill a friendly Spy. Is this possible? If it's possible, does it level up your Assassin?

This has probably been covered before in these questions, but I will answer it again. By 'friendly" spy, that would be the Spies of an allied or neutral faction and, yes, you can assassinate these Spies at any time during the game! And you can definitely level up your Assassin in this manner!

38. Can a spy in a city make more targets avaiable for an Assassin, or it's just not necessary?

I would say it's not necessary. As long as an Assassin has an unblocked route to a city, you can select the Assassin, then click on that city and see what targets are available.

39. Can you bribe capitals?

No. I don't believe that it is possible. I want to double-check that.

39a. Is it possible to bribe the last remaining city of a faction?

40. Can you confirm that one horseman will be restored each turn to a General?

41. So some Generals have larger Guard Units than others? What determines how large they are?

42. Is it possible to get rid of bad Traits once they are acquired?

Not that I have been able to confirm. It seems the list of bad traits can just get longer and longer.

43. How do you receive bad traits? Some traits are just from heredity?

44. Is there a way to receive good traits?

45. Will visiting a university or temple help you receive good traits?

46. Will having one Governor stay in one town (without moving around) help develop bad traits?

47. If you pick up good traits by visiting a Temple or Unveristy, how long do you have to stay in the same city? Just overnight?

48. I know Generals level up Command by fighting battles, but do Governors get Management and Influence just by being in a city and making it grow? Or is it a negative to just hang around?

49. Does a Governor get Influence or Management just by building structures in a town? Any other way?

50. What are the effects of a severely damaged governmental structure?

51. Am I correct that Unrest can be as high as 80 percent?

52. Is there any way to cause Unrest to fade away more quickly?

53. Any reason unrest is higher in one city than the other when first conquered?

54. Do higher populations in a city increase or decrease overall income? So higher populations generate more taxes? Or less taxes because of higher maintenance? Where can you see a firm number in this regard? Is taxes the only thing population affects, besides squalor?

55. How about the opposite -- do higher populations produce more taxes?

56. Besides Squalor, is there any other negative effect of high population?

57. Does enslavement actually give more citizens to a population or just increase the population percentage for a certain amount of time? What is this percentage? How long does it last?

58. What is the percentage of the population killed off during Extermination?

59. Why can't I combine some Fleets together?

60. How powerful are Mercenaries compared to other forces you can recruit?

61. Is it possible to declare war against the other Roman factions at any point in the game or only at a certain time or under certain conditions?

62. Do Mercenaries get stronger later in the game?

63. Can an Assassin kill a Spy?

64. Do Assassins die in their attempt because of a strong bodyguard around a General or because of a Spy in his Army or both?

65. So some towns have a basic Unrest level? Which towns are these?

66. Do Spies lessen Unrest? I read it but I haven't seen it.

67. Does Unrest always go down with time or can it fluctuate?

68. Does Public Order have to be at a certain amount for Unrest to go down?

69. Does Retraining always add troops if some have been killed off? How does that work?

70. When you bribe a city to join you, do all the troops always join your cause? How about the agents?

71. What percentage of the population is killed during an extermination?

72. Where is the Automanage Taxes Only button?

73. Are there Corruption charges when you have less than 50,000 denarii in the bank? Any idea how corruption is figured?

74. So an army led by a Commander has a cloak on?

75. So if the Commander only has a two-star rating, you don't see the stars on the army icon on the campaign map?

76. Are both troops and citizens lost in a siege? Or just one or the other?

77. Is having a spy in one of your cities the only way to tell if there is an enemy spy therein?

78. Can you spy on a city without having the spy actually go in the city?

79. Do spies give their added sight bonus even when they are traveling within an army?

80. Do faded icons represent all structures in queue or just the next structure?

81. Can Assassins kill Assassins?

I don't think that's possible. You can't see enemy Assassins -- ever! Uh, I take that back! You can see Allied Assassins!

83. Can Assassins die attempting to kill Diplomats?

Yes!

83. Can spies cause Unrest in cities?

Yes!

84. Do the structures of Rome have a Culture Penalty associated with them?

No!

85. Can you use the Assassin as a Spy?

(kind of -- explain -- can see in cities, Spies, etc., even from far away)

87. Wil AI automatically pick the Governor in city with the most Influence?

88. Can Assassin get upgraded even with an unsuccessful assassination attempt?

Yes!

89. Can Assassin see Spy in city without another Spy in the area?

Yes!

90. Does the Spy's extra sight ability apply when in a city? In an army? On a ship?

91. Can an Assassin protect a General from Assassins?

I don't believe so -- only Spies!

92. If both you and an ally lay siege to a city, who gains possession of the city?

Whoever began the siege first!

93. How can I tell what my reward is for completing a Senate mission?

Answer: At the end of the turn, a status report is given on the left-hand side of the screen regarding your accomplished mission. Open the scroll to find out your exact reward.

94. Where are saved games kept? Are they transferable between computers?

96. How can you tell if you have a spy in a city?

Answer: Just by looking at the map, you can't! It's easy to forget about them! There are two ways to keep track of them. One is just to remember they are in that particular city (or guess) and double-click on the city. If one of your spies is in the city, information about the city will appear in detail! Otherwise, go to the Agent's scroll and look for locations of your individual spies.

97. Hold on. I confused myself. Can spies see spies? Or only Assassins?

99. Do Rebels get more powerful as the game progresses?

100. Does population size or any civilian structures determine the strength of a Rebel army that takes over your town after a Civil Revolt?

101. I forget. Did Rebels attack my towns "sometimes" on medium difficulty?

I don't believe so. This never happened on an entire campaign in Barbarian Invasion!

102. I read on the Internet that Rebels can increase Unrest in your cities. Is that true?

103. Does Unrest go up when an enemy General is in the region?

Not in RTW Barbarian Invasion. I will double-check for RTW.

104. Can Devasatation occur from Riots?

No! The only reason I asked this question is because I didn't know the answer to the next question.

105. Does Devastation continue even after a Rebel army is defeated?

Yes. This is the aftermath of Rebels previously camped out in the region. It will go away with time! Notice the brown area around certain areas? This is the effects of Devastation. It will slowly go away with time.

106. Is it a reasonable strategy to capture some Wonders in the Julii Imperial Campaign?

107. How will it benefit you to declare war on factions already at war with other Roman factions/allies?

108. Is it possible to send multiple spies to a rival city to cause riots there or even a civil revolt?

109. If I haven't asked this already, how is it possible to tell if there is a spy in your city? Only by having your own spy therein?

110. Any way to affect Senate and the People's approval besides the capturing of regions? What are these methods? Do Senate missions affect this approval rate at all? Would accomplishment of missions postpone the Civil War at all by raising Senate approval?

Things I would like to add:

A copy of all the different charts you can see with comments.

Need to finish the Economy section.

Riot section move location

Maps on separate page.

add Internet location of RTW map

15 questions has wrong information about number of units and peasants and their effect

Rebel section

My Favorite Tips and Hints -- That May or May Not Fall Into Other Special Categories

1. Merging Troops Within Your Army.

While having a General and his army selected hit the M key. This will "merge" similar units together to take up fewer of the 20 slots available!

When merging two different armies, sometimes you can fill up all of the slots available, separate the armies, merge, then more slots will become open again! Awesome!

2. A Neat Trick: Spying With Diplomats.

If you want to see how many regions are still under the control of a rival faction, just have a Diplomat meet up with an enemy force, settlement, etc. and choose Demand Region. A list of regions currently still available to the faction will be listed, minus their capital city!

3. My Favorite Choke Point.

This is my favorite tip at the moment. I want to share it with the world. The small pass leading from the Gallic area (modern-day France) to Spain is quite conspicuous. Place a Fort there and it will keep micro-armies from coming and pestering your cities in the southern Gaul region while you deal with other issues. (i.e. Britannia and Germania)

In my first playthrough -- with no Forts -- this was a constant distraction. The second playthrough, with a Fort blocking this location, not a single army came through, even with just a single unit of troops in the Fort!

LOTS MORE IN PART 2

Here is the link to Part 2 of this guide:

Actually there is NOT a lot on Part 2 - yet. But eventually this guide is going to get too long for one page!

ROME TOTAL WAR STRATEGY GUIDE - PART 2

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    • jmchaconne profile image

      jmchaconne 5 years ago

      Holy shit! Great job. My son is a gamer, he'd love this. Thanks!

    • Gabriel360 profile image

      Gabriel360 5 years ago

      Nice tips! Rome: Total War is a really fun game.

    • profile image

      Phaigan 6 years ago

      Very thorough lens. Thanks for all the tips on the game!