Ever wanted to try something new? Tired of playing as Rome, other Latin culture groups and Hellenistic culture groups? Maybe you just want a new fresh challenge! I created this guide after completing my first successful play-through as a Barbaric tribe, in hope to inspire others to give them a go. It wasn't easy either, this was my 4th attempt and wont be my last.
Other Imperator Rome Guides:
- Console Commands (Cheat Codes).
- Five Tips for the Minmaxer to Get the Most Out of Pops.
- How to Fix Starving Pops and Cities.
- How to Get Units on Ships.
In the Beginning
When beginning a fresh campaign several choices are factored in to the right selection for your newest venture. I generally begin to look first at achievements I desire, or at least some that are reasonably attainable. If your just beginning your first ever play-through your going to knock over quite a few achievements, so make sure you set the bar a bit higher to give yourself something to work towards.
I've always found this helps keep your game fresh and stops it from becoming stale after playing around the 20-30 hour mark. One achievement I had my eyes on was to become a Republic as a tribe, I thought it would be easily achieved, seriously doesn't sound that hard right?
During my successful attempt I began as Chaucia, which are a migratory tribe. I improved my centralization to eventually become a settled tribe. Once my Oratory tech advances had grown enough I was finally able to become the republic I had desired. This was quite some time into the game, I think I finally become a republic around 620.
Other factors that you may consider are
- Starting location, e.g. you may not wish to be land-locked. Migratory settlers can cross any land ownership, but clan chiefs will require military access to pass.
- Color of faction on the faction map. Sure it sounds lame to be picky over color, but most of the time you will be viewing it whilst playing.
- Choice of faction flag. One thing players have pointed out in Imperator is that some faction flags are very simple and dull with representing a nations culture. Common colors between several factions and at times the flags only consisting of 2 different color tones.
- Resources, is one important factor in deciding where to begin. If your beginning as a migratory tribe you could move to your desired resources. Otherwise if you are settled, not all other factions wish to trade you your desired goods. So be sure to pick somewhere close to a resource you desire most.
- Starting Pops, this should be looked past when selecting a faction. Sure it makes life easier having more pops at the beginning, but once war kicks off and blood spills the lands pops are moving all over the countryside. Settlements can go from 6/15 pops to 28/15 if your successful enough in your conquests.
One last item to factor into faction selection is heritage. It doesn't sound like much but can make a big difference in how you play. For example, in my Chaucia campaign I have the Coastal heritage. This give me buffs to commerce via export, and cheaper oratory province investments for attaining extra trade routes. One other heritage I'd seen and I thought was useful for tribes had bonuses for archer offense. Most tribal armies are built on archers, infantry and light cavalry so it seemed to be a solid choice.
As discussed before there are many heritages to review as the right choice for you, here is the heritage I spoke about with bonuses to Archers. Forest Heritage
After picking the right faction for you and beginning your game, before you hit that play button stop and think of a vision for where you want to guide your peoples. Do you want to conquer the known world, or be a peaceful nation or maybe become the biggest trading empire within your national regions or even the greatest traders of Europe itself.
Below is a picture of what had become of Chaucia, we become Saxonia. It wasnt my vision before beginning this play-through. I had the ambition to conquer and unite all of Germany under one banner and become the greatest power of northern Europe, with the goal of grabbing the achievement Germania Magna.
My vision changed after playing through the first 100 years, this was due to having too many different culture groups from conquest and colonizing. I decided to take the easier approach and just aim for becoming a republic, then later grabbing the achievement Garum Nobile. I had surely ran out of time to achieve my first initial goal as there was only 100 years left to conquer 3 regions my current size.
Other factors played into this choice, money was a constant issue. I couldn't support enough armies to mass the neighouring nations and their allies. Another issue was we had fallen behind in tech research due to the lack of citizens in our nation. At one point we fought a war with Cimbria to the north, we had enough manpower to roll them over, but they were too technologically advanced at the time and would have soaked up the manpower pool like a sponge.
My vision as mentioned earlier can be achieved in another play-through, I would have to approach it more aggressively and be more reliant on province autonomy to grow more progressively. The picture above displays the endgame result, we'd become mostly a Saxonian Germanic group with very little freemen. 40% of the nation was made up of citizens, and we'd become the most technologically advanced nation in the north.
Becoming one with the Tribe
By now you should have a fair idea of the faction you currently are, and the nation you wish to become. Doing so with tribes is not any harder than say playing as Rome. The two factions will both have their own cultures, religions, core provinces, a means of generating an income, allies and enemies. The reason I feel that you may think the two play so differently is Rome's population is enormous comparing to other regions throughout Europe.
Above is Rome right at the start of the game, it only consists of 23 cities but within them resides a total of 394 Pops.
When comparing those figures with the German regions alone, it would take a total of 25 German Tribes to even match Rome for Pop count, practically the entirety of Germany and southern Scandanavia.
The main difference between the two factions would obviously be Government type. Both factions operate different with their government types, and also maintain different laws within them. We are not here to compare the difference between the 2 though, exploring tribal forms is what were here to discuss.
So what is it that we know?
From what I have discovered so far there are 3 types of tribal government forms. These forms would be Migratory Tribe, Settled Tribe and Federated Tribe. Depending on where you start in the world can determine what tribal group you fall into. Not to worry though as you can easily change your tribal status as you see fit, if you meet the required criteria.
- Migratory Tribes are most commonly found in the Germanic regions of the north and can even be common to find north of Macedon. A migratory tribe will have the lowest Centralization stat at -50% and in all the tribal forms it grants bonuses for your people on the move.
- Settled Tribes are the most common type of tribe and are found right throughout the known world. Some countries that are pretty much dominated by settled tribes are Spain, England and France. Settled tribes are at a 0.00% beginning centralization stat. Makes for an interesting start to your venture as a tribe as you could easily stay, or leave to find the promise lands.
- Federated Tribes are the least common tribal type, and are hard to find. I personally have only come across the Arverni located in France. A federated tribe has the highest starting stat for centralization at +50%. The maximum stat is of course 100% so improving your centralization will grant you bonuses to civilization level and the citizens within your nation.
No matter which tribal type your faction falls into the laws within them are one and the same. The laws in the government tab are best to be changed to your style of play as you see fit. For example there would be no point with investing in centralization change laws if your happy to stay as a tribe. There are laws that can increase or decrease your clan retinues. Your probably thinking why would I want to decrease clan retinues? Maybe you cannot maintain loyalty between them, or you cant afford to pay their wages. The armies that the clan chiefs muster are free, but you still pay the clan chiefs wage.
Extra information on Tribes
Imperator Rome digital artbook has some information in defining the tribal peoples of these times, take special note on Germania and how they were accustomed to being a migratory people. This may influence the way you approach your play style.
Government and Characters
Governments has been broken down into 3 easy access tabs for you to view your nations inner counterparts. What used to feel like in previous patches just another tab to view, has become an important factor in monitoring your nations progress.
As seen above the Tribal Chief is the current ruler of your nation, and the candidate is next inline for the thrown upon the rulers death. There is no monarchy in the tribal system so no need to worry on marrying your chiefs off to conceive children in maintaining the thrown. The candidate from what I have seen is usually the character that possesses the strongest prominence stat. At one point I had a Suebi character running my Saxonian nation. The stats were fantastic but the clan chiefs loyalty was something to be monitored closely, well that was until he was assassinated.
The clan chiefs tab is where you can quickly glance at their loyalty to your ruler and monitor the number of retinues within your nation. The centralization tab is pretty straight forward, but if you notice the lower the centralization the higher the size of your chiefs retinue becomes. Your tribesman also have bonuses to their output and the cost of migration is lower. From memory you need 3 pops to migrate from a territory, based on -50% centralization.
With the retinue cohorts tab you can dictate what type of units they will muster. Its not guaranteed that they will be the only units they muster, sometimes they can be random. I thought it was great that retinues could recruit champions, until I realized you need to hold the resource that builds the unit to replenish them.
Offices are within every government form, and sure it may be ideal to always have the best person for the job in the role, but it may be a waist of time if its not the right fit for your play style. Each role in the offices tab grants bonuses for your faction. But what would be the point in having a High Priest with really good stats for the job, if you don't use omens all that often? I personally use my religious power to push my stability as high as possible, so I don't really have a purpose for a good High Priest at all, and will most likely fill the role with a Scorned Character.
For a general tribal play style there would be key office jobs that would always require the right person. These roles would be:
- Elder - National Tribesman Happiness Bonus.
- High Priest - Omen Power Bonus.
- Wise One - National Citizen Happiness Bonus.
- Magistrate - National Tax Bonus.
So why only 4 out of the 8 total roles? This is because the selected 4 roles are a general foundation to guide your nation in any direction, e.g. conquerer or trader style play. Most tribes main pop count will comprise mainly of tribesman, so why not keep them happy. Most of the lands you will take or colonize the pops will be mostly tribesman too.
Having better omen power, well that is if your someone that relies on omens this is a top choice as the choices you make can direct growth in several ways such as money, pop count or ruler popularity.
National tax bonus, who doesn't like money right? I never heard anyone say that they disliked earning too much money in Imperator. Its a small bonus but the reason its a key role for me is as a tribe your incomes are quite small and spent quickly, so anything that will help boost it is treated as gold itself.
National Citizen Happiness wasn't too important, but a key role if you aim to become a republic, or at least move away from a tribal form. The more happier your citizens are, the greater research ratios you can get, which allows you to get new techs quicker and at the same time raise your civilization level.
Laws as a tribe at a glance can be seen as quite simplistic, and for the time period for barbaric tribes they probably were. The laws table was listed in the section "Becoming one with the Tribe".
As boring as this may seem but most of the starting tribal laws affect Tribesman happiness and Tribesman output. There are other laws that may seem appealing to your play style and should be changed to as soon as possible. The general focus in laws is, you can define how your faction feels to play with through small changes. For example playing as a migratory style nation, changing laws to keep a low centralization is most wise. Maybe you rely on having ally's for better chances of survival, you can increase your diplomatic relations numbers here.
One thing to keep in mind is, if you do become a republic or monarchy be sure to check over the new laws that have been introduced with the new government type.
When I first began playing Imperator I didn't think that characters were all that important. They more felt like people to just fill out jobs and roles within the nation. I would generally just pick whoever looked a good fit, or who was first to be selected. After quite a few play-through's my views had changed, so much so that I would even scan over the families of conquered nations to see if they had better stats to support my own nation.
I discussed before that a new ruler could be judged by their prominence, looking at the picture above you can see the candidate has better stats than the Tribal Ruler. I would personally prefer my candidate to be the Researcher Iccius Audaxus in this case as he has better stats in dilpomatic and oratory power.
When making the right choices for your jobs and roles the characters tab is best selected. The bar at the top with all the icons is the easiest way you can sort through what is available. You might think that just selecting the job icon you want filled shows everything available, well no it doesn't. It only shows you who is unemployed and fit to do the role.
I've had times in previous games where I needed researchers with good oratory stats, to find I had none. Yet I had average generals conducting war, to later discover in the character tab they were the perfect fit for researcher jobs, but were never listed as they already had a role on the battlefield.
There is no perfect way to gauge when to make changes in who should be doing what roles in your nation, but I always have a peek at the characters tab every 5-10 years. The character pools are always changing with characters and their stats. When you conquer other factions and take on their families, or have characters come over to your courts and most importantly your characters have children growing up there can be new opportunities to recruit the right person. Keep in mind their traits also have affects on their stats, some can be treated such as arthritis but others like cancer can be permanent and at times terminal.
Here is a good example about why you should keep in check with your character tab. This man I put in charge of my Religious Research when he was in his prime. By memory he had 11 Religious stat points when he was appointed. I had lost touch with my characters as I was busy focusing on the end game. You can see he has dementia and quite severe stat damages, 5 of the 7 traits he has all contribute to his poor stats.
Every faction within Imperator have the same Military unit build types. The only thing that makes Barbaric Tribes unique is the ability to recruit chariot units, the only other culture group that can do the same is the Indian culture and the chances you may see them are slim. Latin and Hellenistic culture tribes aren't able to do the same due to being part of a different cultural group. The chariot unit isn't the best unit for every battlefield, but that can be determined too depending on who your fighting, where your fighting them, the enemy army composition and your current fighting tactic.
The reason why I think they are worth a mention in this guide is, they are unique to barbaric and indian culture groups only and if used correctly they can be devastating to whoever they face. They are quite effective against most of the general tribe army compositions. Due to there damage bonuses they fit well with most army tactics. They only thing I have ever questioned is, is the unit a melee type or missile type unit?
Who your fighting
When your fighting other factions that have a similar culture type, you study their compositions, army tactics, and the general leading them. This will give you a rough guide on how to counter them. For example most of the German tribes I've had conflicts with, they will have a composition of Archers at first cohort, chariot second, and infantry third. Chariots have bonus modifiers to both archers and infantry but have a balanced modifier against their own unit type. If the general leading them has good martial stats this will also grant bonuses to your army as a whole. Other bonuses are given by military traditions, researched technologies, events, military ideas, martial advances, omens and the factions heritage. With all that considered if you have the right tactic employed for your army it will also grant another bonus.
All that said, consider your facing a foreign culture type like the Latin group. Their army composition is mainly Archers at first cohort, heavy infantry at second and heavy cavalry at third. To face them with a successful tactic used before might not be so good. You would get a bonus against archers and that would be about it. Your army would be more reliant on the generals bonuses and battlefield modifiers. So best to change your army composition or at least the amount of units to each cohort.
If your nation has become big enough you could always just drown your enemy in armies and dwindle away your manpower pool, if your lucky enough to have one so big. One idea I had would be to use light cavalry against Latin culture groups, whilst importing horses to the capital for discipline bonuses. Exporting surpluses will grant you an additional +5% more
Where your fighting them
Where your fighting can determine outcomes of the battle before they even begin. Chariots especially are more effective in open plains than any other battlefield type. There are military technologies that also grant a bonus to these battlefields. If your at war and on the run from invading armies it can pay to pick your battlefield before you're engaged. Study terrain types when possible to understand how they work. If you cant avoid a battle then don't, pause the game, look at the terrain, if you depend on your chariots and its a forest battle your automatically less effective. But, the attacker suffers a -1 modifier in battle, best to change your tactic to suit a different composition.
For quick example, you may have your army as said before 7 archers, 7 chariots and 7 infantry with a Deception tactic. Switch this to 7 archers, 7 infantry and 7 chariots and the Bottleneck Tactic or Skirmish Tactic for a better chance at winning the battle. Then when possible move your army to a territory that has a plains terrain type to re-engage the enemy on your first general tactic. This may seem like a lot of mucking around to win battles, but early game as a tribe your armies wont be big, you will be reliant on your clan chiefs retinues and small wins could win the war a lot faster.
Enemy army compostions
As discussed before, depending on where you fight your wars the local cultural factions differ in army compositions. Sometimes they may only be small differences, like using the same type of units but a different amount of cohorts. Examples being are 5 archers, 5 infantry 5 light cavalry vs 2 archers, 10 infantry and 3 light cavalry. They may only be on a small scale but should be approached differently, as there is no point using archer effective units against armies consisting of 2 archer cohorts.
It can pay off big if your willing to do a small amount of homework, but it isn't really homework if you enjoy playing the game as I do myself. I have seen quite a number of players lost on how to build their own armies. To be honest, do whatever works for you, if you fail just try again. I had to adjust my army style between play-throughs also, as a means of survival. I was used to building roman style armies. Archers, heavy infantry and heavy cavalry and in large stacks 15k men or more, and generally using the Shock tactic. When I tried something similar as a tribe it felt like I was pushing my armies through a meat grinder.
I eventually decided to look further into units and positive/negative modifiers, bonuses from trade and capital surpluses, how the enemy comprised their armies and made adjustments to my own along the way. Eventually you will be able to craft an army that can pack a punch, or take on larger armies sizes with ease as long as they have good morale.
I can't wait to venture more into armies in future play-throughs and muck around with compositions as the possibilities are endless. Maybe do some sort of cross faction build, to really get the edge over my enemies. Something like 4 infantry, 5 chariots and 8 horse archers using the deception tactic.
That said leaves me with the topic of Mercenaries. I never liked the idea of hiring out armies, it just never felt right, until I gave it a go. They can turn the tides of war when needed, as long as you have the coin. With mercenaries they have their own compositions and vary from where you recruit them, just keep in mind you need to have diplomatic range to do so. If it was so easy to recruit mercenaries with elephants and march them to Germany, what faction wouldn't?
I remember playing a roman campaign and invading Macedon just for fun. I landed 10 legions at Epirus and pushed east, at first I had made some ground but Macedon kept throwing armies my way and I had retreated back to Italy to recoup and launch another wave. Once I had grabbed enough territories from them to replenish my loses, I discovered through the mercenary tab that they were recruiting mercenaries close buy to repel me. Smart because it was working, what would be more smart is if I had recruited them prior to invading in the first place.
Current fighting Tactic
Tactics wasn't something I had really ventured into until my second campaign. Sure I initially had a look but didn't really understand what they were really about, until I noticed the modifiers it gives to certain unit types. From experiences so far there is no true best tactic, like a one size fits all, to think so would be naive.
When thinking about what tactic would suit your army best, sure check the tactics button and see. It is all there listed for you and a breakdown of how they will perform. It will give you the best recommendation for your current army. But as you trade goods and learn new techs and traditions and progress through the game, some unit types are receiving bonuses you may have forgotten about, and could give you the edge you need in your battles.
So have a think about what bonuses your unit types are equipped with. You can do so via the military tab, under cohorts. If you have bonuses to archer discipline and infantry defense stats then start here. Maybe make those 2 unit types the core of how you will compose your armies.
You may end up with 5 archers, 10 infantry and the 3rd cohort a specialized unit type with only a small amount of cohorts in that group, say 3 or 4 at most. Think back to the bonuses your units receive, for instance if you do get the infantry with a +10 defensive modifier, you could choose a defensive style tactic like Bottleneck, and have infantry at first cohort. If you are receiving offensive style bonuses then just do the opposite and maybe go with the shock tactic.
Sometimes trade goods can be confusing at a glance, but basically the trade good if it's in surplus in the province it grants the province the bonus, you may need to build certain units in certain provinces to receive these bonuses. If the trade good has a surplus it then can be imported to your capital obviously, some trade goods have faction-wide bonuses once imported. You could also increase your import numbers to your capital so you can get the best out of a few different trade goods, or just move your capital to the desired province. You could always take the Total War approach with province management and have some focused around economy and others around military recruitment zones. So in a nutshell on tactics, focus on your strengths, build units that compliment them and suit the right tactic to your strengths.
Just a quick note on Trade surpluses in general, the standard bonus received stacks but the Capital surplus doesn't. So for example if you have a surplus in leather as seen in the picture above, the Cohort recruit speed stacks, and the light infantry defense doesn't. The only time it does increase is if you export the trade good as well at half the rate, you receive +5%. The good will then grant 15% in total.
Clan Chiefs and Retinues
Clan chiefs are to tribes like what feels like free mercenaries, except you pay the Chief a wage and they are within your court system. So you will have to act with the chiefs like you do other characters within your family courts. This wont stop you from still being able to recruit mercenaries if you have the funds to do so. As talked about earlier you can dictate what units they recruit to an extent but the size of their free armies depends on how centralized your faction is, the lower centralization the bigger the army.
The amount of clan chiefs you have can be changed via the laws tab, and also by your tribal form as in migratory or settled etc. I found that working with chiefs early game was really handy as I didn't have to pay a maintenance cost on troops. But as the chiefs died my coffers would dwindle away and couldn't work out why. It was like I was paying a death tax. I soon discovered that the army the chief leaves behind then becomes the property of the faction. Regardless if you replace the army with your own general it wont go back to being a clan retinue army. The most painful part of this is most clan retinues have loyalty. So you have to pay them off with the new general with money you wont have because its early game.
I have heard that loyalty units will be able to be disbanded come patches in the future but for now its an issue to work with. How I combated this scenario is the minute a chief dies, select his old army, disband the non loyal troops, and move the loyal ones to another army with non loyal troops and disband the non loyal troops. This is tedious but will prevent you from entering a recession. Just make note that the changes you make to your armies that you adjust your tactics with them.
Revising the last paragraph, in times of war this can be a major headache because when one chief dies in battle, another will spawn at your capital and already recruiting his own troops. So be sure to check what he recruits and once again set him a effective tactic, as the last chief was set to a different army that you hopefully dismantled effectively.
Its pretty straight forward what your able to achieve with military traditions just by hovering your cursor above the desired tech. As mentioned before in "Current fighting Tactics" if you have an idea of how you will comprise your armies than its time to invest in some military traditions. I have gathered all the information here so it can be easily viewed for you to maybe pick some to work towards and make your armies the sharpest fighters available.
As seen above, each tradition will be listed working down vertically from left to right.
- Scythed Chariots Chariot Offense +15%
- Coming of Age Light Infantry Defense +15%
- Living off the Land Army Attrition -15%
- Word of Mouth Manpower Recovery Speed +5%
- Chariot Mastery Chariot Morale +10%
- Selective Breeding Light Cavalry Cost -15%
- Take up Arms Archer Morale +10%
- Trained Cavalry Chariot Discipline +10% Light Cavalry Discipline +10%
- Strike and Withdraw Light Infantry Morale +10%
- Natural Resources Chariot Cost -15% Light Cavalry Cost -15%
- The Glory of the Hunt Enslavement Efficiency +20% National Slave Output +10%
- Ambush unlocks Hit-and-Run Tactic Archer forest combat bonus +15% Light infantry forest combat bonus +15%
- Shield Wall Heavy Infantry Defense +15%
- The Young must Serve Light Infantry Cost -15%
- Hail of Stones Archer Defense +15%
- Adaptability Light Infantry Discipline +10%
- Strike from Afar Archer Offense +15%
- Confederations National Manpower +10%
- The Plains fight with Us Chariot Plains combat bonus +15% Light Infantry combat bonus +15%
- In Defense of our Home Enables the raise levies ability
- A people on the move Wrong culture Happiness +10% Cohort Recruit Speed +25%
- Strong Arm Heavy Infantry Offense +15%
- Scale the Walls! Siege Ability +10%
- Blow the Trumpet, in the new Moon! Morale of Armies +10%
The raise levies ability incurs a morale hit to your army, but grants you the amount of Light Infantry to the same amount of territories held within the province. Do take note as seen above that Raising Levies will give the modifier "Increased Tensions for 5 years", which incurs a +2 to local unrest. I personally haven't needed to use it yet, I figured it would be used in a emergency situation, like leaving your nation with no armies and being hit by barbarians or a traitorous neighbouring faction declares war.
Religion I've found in Imperator to be quite shallow. The concept of it is great with omens and stability control, and all the bonuses you get from Religion are enough to keep you interested, but at the same time feel like you should have received more. I said earlier I mainly use my religious power for stability, I do so because I feel I get more 'bang for my buck' or 'value for money' with stability than I do any omen. Omens can be quite niche depending on what religious group you fall into, you may find that you like a certain faction but not their religion.
Lucky enough it's quite easy to change religion provided you have the amount of religious power required, at least 50% of the non slave pops in the capital follow the desired religion,enough stability to take a hit and most importantly a High Priest that follows the desired religion. So how do you know what your favored religion is? Well I have gone and compiled all religious powers that are attached to Barbaric Factions. This may guide you on a faction choice before starting a new campaign or may convince you to convert religions. Just remember if you choose too, you wont need to have all pops currently follow the desired religion, just 50% non slave pops in the capital only and a High Priest that does.
Also a quick tip to convert religions, this becomes available once the character following the desired faith is the High Priest, then it can be changed in the Decisions tab.
You are probably wondering why I have put up the Canaanite religion, well the large Italian island of Sardinia that is occupied mainly by Carthage has two Barbarian tribes that follow the religion, they are Balaria and Iliensia. That said in all of my campaigns I've rarely seen them live long enough to do anything great to mention, might even make a good campaign to play one day.
Personally I feel like religion as a whole should be more powerful, as you play you can see some territories and also provinces have mixed religions as well as culture. My point being is wouldn't it be great if you could spread religion. I do understand were not playing Sid Meier's Civilization, but the ability to spread religion would make annexing countries and colonizing new territories a smoother process. Maybe have some sort of thing where you send away 1 pop of your religion per territory in any province, to a neighbouring faction or uncolonized province to promote your religion. With some sort of unrest modifier in the province that donated the pops, plus ruler corruption of course.
Economy and Trade
Economy / Commerce
Economy is one factor of Imperator that can either drive or cripple your nation. Much like the real world. Once again there is no one best method on how to manage your economy, but you can design it to compliment your nations bonuses. Just for example, as said earlier I played as Chaucia with the Coastal Heritage giving us bonuses to Export trade at +10%, with the oratory tech investment we can get more trade import routes at a reduced cost.
So I designed my economy on Exporting goods to make money. The more surpluses we had, the more we could trade away and fill the treasury quicker to fund our every need. Through my campaign I never had any trouble getting a trade partner for Export, I've always found that its easier to trade away goods than Import them in. So essentially the oratory investment perk was of no need. If my nation grew big enough to a point where we were quite central in Europe, I could move the capital for diplomatic range purposes to pick up more trade options for Importing goods, but I would have to choose between the commerce bonuses of export vs import. The choice would come down to how many trade deals I had of each, going with the larger number category.
Pictured below is the commerce differences of export vs import for income for Chaucia, there is a whole 10 coin income difference between the two. Even if I would switch to Importing goods I wouldn't be able to secure trade due to other nations not liking me for aggressive expansion. My best hope at using the import routes would be to trade with myself, and doing so you only make on average 0.05 coins vs trading the commodity away for 0.40 coins.
With tax once again it can fit each nation differently. Naturally you would love to set your taxes high to earn more coin. You would only consider going for high tax if you had advanced tech levels and didn't need the research ratio or you had so many slaves it would be silly not to take advantage of a higher slave output.
As you progress through your campaign be sure to check the coin differences of your taxes by adjusting from low-middle-high. Sounds a bit crazy but maybe you had more slaves than what you thought and would reap more from high taxes.
Having low taxes only is a benefit if you have too many unrest modifiers working against you, using low taxes grants -1.00 unrest and -50% National tax income. I personally would just keep standard taxes in that case and be weary of fending off rebellions or uprisings. Most of my play-through's I've stuck with standard taxes as I earn my income through trade.
Everything else within your Economy tab is pretty straight forward and easy to understand. You can adjust as you coast through your campaign. Reducing wages of army and navy are great ways of saving coin whilst not at war. Going to war puts these back to standard rates, besides fleet maintenance for some reason and yes I had to find that out the hard way, by losing battles of 70 ships of my fleet to 40 ships of the enemy and sitting there scratching my head as to what just happened.
If you do have the coin to spare, whilst at war pay your troops a bit more coin to get better morale. If you're measured quite evenly against your foe it can make small differences in battle outcomes, but its better than not taking the chance and losing the fight.
I wanted to bring this to attention only because it can be overlooked, and as said with tribes early game your not swimming in money. I stated earlier that you may have certain roles you need filling from your characters in office or researchers etc. We generally disband armies and at times generals too to save a few coins, but do we disband office members? I know I don't and now I feel like a fool after seeing the image below.
The generals wages I can say is money well spent, but to be paying 0.71 coin to jobs I don't need filling is just crazy. Characters in office grant you small bonuses to your nation and that's about it. You wouldn't need cohort recruit speed bonuses if your at peace, so why have someone in the role at all? I know in future I'm going to be very picky on when these jobs need filling, well at least until the coin really starts rolling in!
You have probably already guessed it but the trade tab is one of my favorites. You can see where your goods are going to or coming from and how much you make. The only thing I feel this tab is missing is where to source goods from. Too many times I needed Iron, I would have to go to an import route to view who has it available by clicking the resource.
I would love to see resource availability added to the trade tab from other nations so you can quickly change trade options on the fly and not be so tedious to do so manually. Another feature would be to have nations list resources their after and it would give you a goal to source it to trade it away, if you prefer to play as a merchant style nation.
Anyway, with the top bar you can see how your getting modifiers to your income. National Commerce income you can see the bonuses I'm receiving in the image below, but I get extra modifiers due to having a mercantile stance from diplomacy and positive stability. The figure is nothing to sing and dance about due to having around 50% stability, but income bonuses is a good reason to spend religious power on stability.
With my Export value you can see how much I have taken advantage of being an export trading nation. Money is made solely from exporting goods. My import value is at -10% with no intention of improving the figure. If you are considering doing the opposite for a challenge you can receive increases in capital import routes just from what power group your nation falls into as seen below. If you do decide on that there are other ways to increase the routes, but if it was me I'd just spam the oratory tech investment on the desired provinces.
One last thing to straighten out is the trading away Surplus button. Toggling this will only halt the export of your Capital surpluses only. So if you are looking to stack certain modifiers from trade, toggle it on to block export and ship what you can to the capital to take advantage. Do keep in mind it is the general surplus that stacks and not the Capital surplus bonus. Each resource states "each surplus in province" +5% will stack. Surplus in capital city +10% will not stack. When exporting +5% will not stack. So choose resources wisely to stack up.
With the mercantile stance you receive bonuses to trade as intended. There are many stances to flick between but will cover that in diplomacy. I chose to become mercantile before i become a regional power. The aim was to get the bonus of +30 mercantile stance similar to others with the same stance, and the +20 opinion of others within diplomatic range. It wasn't until later that I started seeing the reward of the stance, that come from gathering more surpluses under my belt and being able to trade with others further away, basically having more demand of my goods.
The intention of changing to the mercantile stance was to get better base opinions of other nations surrounding me. As you grow bigger and gain aggressive expansion its harder to keep factions within range from declaring war. It feels like their jealous of my growing power. The change was a risk due to there being better stance options, but it paid off. I kept my head from rolling on the floor and was seen as the go to nation for trade goods.
The diplomacy tab is generally pretty straight forward, and full of information on how you view others and how they see you. It is much like a visual ledger, but you can only compare yourself to another nation one at a time. I found myself constantly checking and comparing the technology advances bars to other nations close by to see if I could counter them in some way.
But diplomacy itself is more than just a tab. When you look at others how do you see them, friends or foes? Are they close by or a whole continent away? How to determine this is up to you. I have discussed this with other Imperator fans and the common theme is to start small and think big. Have a few allies early, then bump them off once you become big enough. The only problem in the whole picture is as your power stance grows, your friends dwindle away. Your newest allies may be on the other side of the map, unless your willing to donate provinces to a potential future ally, but who would want to do that!
One campaign I'm looking to do soon is create my own version of Phrygia, but one that isn't crippled by over-expansion and cultural unrest. The aim is to have as many tributaries under my belt as possible, declare wars and sit back and watch my minions do the heavy work.
Looking at the image above, on the left I have listed other nations opinion of me from best to worst. It has basically highlighted just how many nations favor me because we share the same stance. Some nations are +30 or +40 and wont need to be worried about for some time. Picking the right stance for you is dependent on your current situation, and after playing for some time you notice that other factions change stances all the time. So much so that its not worth trying to keep up.
As a tribe I found that the mercantile stance gave me the ability to grow and focus on bigger trade income. Another approach would have been picking the bellicose stance and going to war to obtain tributaries for income purposes, which sounds like fun. Once you had enough nations supporting yours, switching to the Subjugative stance would be the best pick just for the +20 opinion. The options are endless on how these 5 stances could accompany the direction you wish to take.
Here are listed the 5 diplomacy stances to pick from,
I mentioned before in the trade part of the guide about moving your capital city for purposes of picking up trade options. You may even consider doing so just for ally options also. Here below is the diplomacy map-mode. Keep in mind I'm in Germany, Egypt holds Macedonia, but I cant establish trade due to their home province being so far away still.
Egypt's home province is somewhat 2600 diplo-range away from us, if any of us would move capitals trade or other options could be pursued. Its a shame they didn't implement some sort of visual radius that allows you to see how far your range actually goes. Sure the map-mode does the job to some extent, but the shades that have been used doesn't present well for clarity.
This part of the guide is intended for quick reference, basically if you don't want to read through all the other babble.
- Ruler - Your Tribal Chief is essentially your king, but doesn't work like a monarchy, the character in line to rule is the one who has the most prominence. So don't bother marrying off characters to maintain the family bloodline.
- Centralizing - Starting as migratory status, use laws and events to boost up your centralization quicker to become settled, once settled the same factors will give you +10 to your civilization level. To hit the required number to become republic or monarchy is best achieved through tech advances, having a lot of citizens and good researchers will speed this along.
- Trade - The only tactic I had with export trade was, I could only export to external factions. Basically anyone wanting goods outside of Germania. The idea was, by keeping trade local, my soon to be enemies would earn income from our trade deal. No deal equals less income, well for them anyway. I still traded goods away to many corners of Europe, I didn't have a concern over who was dominating the destination regions. I was more concerned with making coin whilst stunting the local oppositions growth.
- Heritage - When picking a faction to begin as, try to pick a faction with heritage that suits your play style and design your nation to move with it as you grow.
- Characters in jobs - Be sure to check on characters employed in roles in your nation. Stats change, they grow older and new members of your court may be the better fit. Its your money being spent here so spend it wisely.
- Armies - Armies are the tools that your nation requires to prosper and grow, keep them sharp to make the job required to be done easier. Don't be afraid to try new army builds, it could be the difference that changes the way you combat other factions with little effort involved.
- Mercenaries - Mercenary armies are there to be used, if you have a deep pocket. I wouldn't suggest building your play style around the full-time use of mercenaries but they can be handy when needed most. Don't forget they can be bought by anyone and possibly fight against you if the circumstances came up.
- Pirates - Pirates I've found to be quite irritating so far, and early game I couldn't really afford a navy either, despite having no ambition to cross the seas. One thing I did notice is pirates are hiring mercenary navies to carry out their dirty work. One way you could combat piracy or lower their navy count is hire mercenaries too.