How best to prepare for the Marion Reform, and how to manipulate the AI to your benefit.
Guide to Late Game Domination
Before we start, you should know we will be playing as the Scipio Faction, as they have the best starting position for this tactic.
Basic Information about the Marion Reform
- The Marion Reform is the turning point of the game. It occurs when one of the three Roman Factions constructs their first Royal Palace, the final City upgrade for Roman settlements. This means you will no longer be able to build any of your previous units, or refill their ranks. You will now be able to recruit new units, that are almost always better than their previous counterparts.
- After the Marion Reform has been instituted, the Senate will gradually start to hate you, no matter how many mission you do for them. Eventually, they will start demanding your Faction Leaders suicide, and will brand you an Outlaw for refusing to do so. War with the Senate is inevitable after the Marion Reform, it’s just a matter of when you’re ready to overthrow them.
- Triarii are Rome’s best spearman, but they cannot be recruited once the Marion Reform has taken place. Triarii are also somewhat difficult to recruit early game, as they can only come from Large Cities with fully upgraded Barracks.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s prepare for our invasion of Rome.
The Set Up
As stated before, we’ll be playing as the Scipio Faction. The Scipio’s have the best early game set up, and are in the perfect position for World Conquest.
Our two allies, The Julii and The Brutii, are actually our greatest enemies. We can’t attack them right now, but we can make them stagnate. Here’s how it works:
The AI will only siege another city that directly borders its own. What this means is, we can prevent our two greatest allies from becoming our worst nightmares. We just have to be quick about it.
We’ve got no time to lose. Pick up Gaius, and all three of the Hastati in the area. Stick them on a boat, and sail immediately for the island to the West, Caralis. If you don’t start sailing here on Turn 1, the Julii will take it instead, throwing a huge wrench in our plan. Recruit more Hastati in Capua, and build a Shrine to Neptune here.
Meanwhile, send the rest of your men to take Syracuse. It shouldn’t be difficult to take, but hire a Merc if you need.
As soon as Gaius reaches Caralis, send him in. The city has no defenses, and can be taken out quick. Hire a merc or two, leave them behind, and take Gaius and the Hastati near Lilybaeum. Have them meet up with your men who took Syracuse, and take the city fast.
This is our Base of Operations. Our Troop factory, if you will. You will want to dedicate each city to producing one type of units. Here’s how I do it:
- Messana: Barracks
- Syracuse: Archery Range
- Lilybaeum: Horse Stables
Make sure you build a Temple of Vulcan in each of these cities. The Temple of Vulcan will stack with a Blacksmith/Armorer, and can be used to make Gold Armor/Weapon Units.
After you’ve taken the island of Sicily, the Senate is going to want you to continue your war with Carthage. Instead, recruit a Diplomat, and request a Ceasefire. Sweeten the deal with Trade Rights if you need too. Carthage is a quagmire, and it’s only going to slow us down right now.
Instead, gather as many Hastati and Equites as you can, and take Gaius East. We’re taking over Greece.
Athens – The City of Gold
As soon as you land on the shores of Greece, siege and take Sparta. It shouldn’t be well defended, as The Greeks will be trying to fight off the Macedonian invasion. After you’ve taken Sparta, leave a skeletal force to hold it, and head straight for Corinth.
Once you’ve taken Corinth, you’ll have The Statue of Zeus, giving you +4 Loyalty in all Settlements.
But the greatest prize to be had here, is Athens. Athens, when fully upgraded, makes the most money of any city in the game, by far. It can easily exceed 10k per turn, so take it early.
As soon as you take a city, make sure to destroy its Temple, and replace it with either a Temple of Saturn or a Temple of Neptune, if its on the coast.
When taking these cities, make sure not to enslave to many of them. Overpopulation in cities can lead to Civil revolts, so make sure to take the exterminate option most of the time. The money doesn’t hurt either, and will go to fueling our war campaign. There will never be a reason to Occupy a city.
Make sure your Troop Island is producing footmen, archers, and horses. Ferry them over to Greece when you have the chance, and help them reinforce your new holds. Make sure Sparta and Corinth are producing units as well, because we’re far from done.
Send a small force, of maybe 4 or 5 units to Kydonia, and take it from the rebels. They won’t pose a threat (You don’t even need to build walls here. No one will ever attack Kydonia for some reason).
By this time, the Brutii may have taken Thermon, but that’s fine. Take Larissa, and Thessalonica. This should be enough to cut off the Brutii’s advance any further. If the Julii are on track, they should have Salona. Take Blyzora, and the Brutii are stuck, and will not be able to progress any further.
When The Brutii become your enemy, they’ll only have three or four cities to their name, and you’ll be ready.
By now, you should have a pretty sizable army, and Gaius should be proving himself to be a legend.
Now that we’ve secured our position, send a diplomat to Thrace, if they haven’t sent one to you. Accept or Offer them an Alliance. They will expand North, and our friends the Julii won’t bother them for now.
Send Gaius and his men to Halicarnassus, and secure the Mausoleum. Have an army ferry over to Rhodes, and put down the Greeks once and for all. Massacre the populous, and invest in new recruits.
This is where the real money starts rolling in. With Greece, Kydonia, and the Turkish coast under your control, your naval trade will start to skyrocket. But why stop there? Have Gaius and his men take out the Pontics in the region. Try and avoid a war with Egypt right now.
Once you begin to spread you Empire out from here, it is highly recommended that you move your capitol from Capua to Athens. Being near the capitol has a positive effect a on a lot of cities, and Athens should be the center of your empire anyway. Time to make it official.
If you’ve kept up on your Troop factory, now is a great time to finally get the Senate off of your back about Carthage. If you’ve kept your Ceasefire with Carthage, they will most likely have left to fight Numidia and deal with their horrible situation in Spain. Carthage and Thapsus should be easy to take if they aren’t expecting a fight.
From Carthage, take a boat and sail a small force to Palma, just to make sure the Julii can’t use it for their own purposes.
Now take your armies of Roman Steel, and spread them East and West at the same time. Take out Pontus, but try and ignore Armenia. Feel free to attack Egypt after you’ve dealt with Pontus, but keep in mind the Marion Reform is drawing ever closer. We need to begin to turn out sights inward.
The Marion Reform
You will more than likely be able to build a Royal Palace before either of the other factions can. However, do not build it. Once the project is complete, you will institute the Marion Reform, and begin the next stage of the game.
Eventually, you will have to build it as your city gets more and more people, but you can put that off for a while before the civil unrest starts. There are two reasons you do not want to build a Royal Palace right away.
- The Senate will start to become more and more demanding of you, eventually threatening to outlaw you. Do not go out of your way for them.
- Recruit as many Triarii as you can. Set up a fort, and fill them with Triarii. Once the Marion Reform happens, you can never recruit another one. You’ll want to bring some of these to deal with the Roman Calvary you’ll be facing in the future. The Auxilia Spearmen you’ll be given just won’t cut it.
Now that the Marion Reform is here, we need to be prepared to war against our allies. Recruit as many armies as you see fit, and begin placing them around the Brutii cities of Croton and Tarentum. They shouldn’t be well defended.
Take your main force, and place them near Capua. As soon as you’re ready, launch an attack on Rome. You should have a sizable advantage, as Rome cannot produce the newer Marion units as quickly as you. Take the city, and the Civil War begins.
Seige Tarentum and Croton, and whatever territory they managed to get on the Greek coast. If you were successful in cutting them off earlier, then congratulations, that should be the end of them.
The Julii have no doubt expanded North at this point, dedicating most of their armies to fighting Briton and Germania. Use your surprise attack on Rome to swallow up the rest of Italy. The Julii will be forced further and further North, while you can take your time expanding in whichever direction you see fit.
From here, it’s all a matter of patience. The Julii are entrenched North, but they shouldn’t pose a serious threat. You’ve already won, they just don’t know it yet.
Here’s a handful of tips to help you along the way.
- Whenever you conquer a new city, the first thing you should do is destroy the local temple. Remove their false idols, and replace it with a Shrine of Saturn. Saturn helps with population loyalty, and will keep those more barbaric cites under control. If your city is on the coast, you can build a Shrine of Neptune instead.
- Do not build Shrines of Vulcan (Or blacksmiths for that matter) in cities you don’t plan on producing Troops. If a city revolts, their troops will gain the benefits of your buildings. It doesn’t make a huge difference, but it will make your life easier.
- Speaking of Revolts… Corduba in Spain and Tarsus in Turkey are both notorious for revolting. These two cities in particular seem to always have a problem with civilized society. When you reach the point where you can’t make them happy, evacuate your troops, and let them revolt. Siege the city, and massacre the populous. It’s the only way to keep them in check.
- Athens is the single best city in the game. With a decent general, Athens can make you over 10k per turn. Make it your capitol as you begin to move East. Prioritize Trade here, Highways, Ports, the works.
- Mercenaries are extremely helpful for garrison control. In order to keep your army on the move, recruit Mercs and fill cities with them. Try not to leave them their alone, as most Mercs don’t fair well in Sieges.
- Cretan Archers are the very best Archer unit you can recruit. Search for mercs in Greece and Turkey often, and recruit every single one. They will put your Archers to shame. (Merc Hoplites, Thracian Mercs, Cilician Pirates and Scythian Horse Archers are decent, but don’t rely on them to much. The rest are good fodder.)
- You do not have to do what the Senate says. Ever.
- Do not take a lot of Slaves early game. Slaves increase your cities population, which you want to avoid for now. The more people in your cities, the sooner you will have to build your Royal Palace. Exterminating the Populous is a lot more effective for our means. You get the money, and the people flood back to your cities pretty quickly.
- When building for your massive empire, you’ll want to prioritize certain buildings over others. Not every city needs to be able to pump out siege weapons. Every city should be able to make at least one kind of unit, but there isn’t a need for those units to be the best. Invest in infrastructure. Here’s a quick build order for most cities:
- Temples —> Ports —> Roads —> Markets —> Sewers —> Farms —> Arenas —> Academies
Keep your cities building, and it’ll keep most of them happy. In turn, most of your cities will start turning profits the more you trade with yourself and other factions.
- Hire Diplomats early. Send them out to every faction you can, and request only Trade Rights. The other faction will always accept, if they aren’t at War with you. It is worth investing in two or three diplomats early on, and spreading them out around the world early. You can try and get Map information, but don’t let them make you buy it. It’ll be your’s eventually anyway.
- Man Of The Hour – This is something that rarely occurs when an army without a general wins a battle. When this happens, one of your troops will have the option of becoming family, and become a full fledged General. In my experience, I have gotten far more Man of the Hours’ from Auto-Resolving than I have manually commanding the battles. I am unsure as to why.
Important note: When A Man Of The Hour is selected, you must accept it immediately from your “Alerts” Tab. If you move the Army who got the Man of the Hour award, and then go to accept him as a new general, it will fail and tell you the man is already dead. Be careful.
- Experience is gained by troops in combat, but I have no idea how or why. Sometimes units get XP sometimes they don’t. Units tend to gain a lot more XP from auto-resolving, but do that at your own risk.
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