A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z #
Home » Guides » Total War: Rome II - Emperor Edition - Comprehensive Faction Guide

Total War: Rome II - Emperor Edition - Comprehensive Faction Guide

Written by Ragnar   /   Oct 23, 2020    


This guide provides a short overview of the military aspects of each faction in the Grand Campaign. It aims to help players understand the model of each faction and what to expect in the campaign.

Guide to Factions



Introduction



This guide provides overviews of the military aspects of each faction in the game. It looks at research progression, recruitment model and the rosters of a faction and how that affects the way a campaign may play out.

The campaign will be viewed in three phases of military progression, regardless of each factions recruitment model.

The Early phase of the military progression includes the first two levels of primary recruitment buildings and includes the base settlement recruitment. It will also include the third tier of the secondary (auxiliary, mercenary or missiles) lines for Greek and Romans as these are available much quicker than the primary. These will generally be lighter troops, basic missiles and some signature units like hoplites for Greeks or horse archers for Nomads. In this phase, mercenaries can provide great benefit through filling gaps or higher tier units.

The Middle phase, the third tier of primary recruitment buildings, provides the bulk of most factions units and generally rounds out the army roster. The fourth tier of secondary buildings unlocks here although in many cases it doesn't provide new units. This phase is quite accessible and can be reached without dedication for every faction except Rome and Carthage who have a higher research requirement and will rely on auxiliaries and mercenaries more. Many campaigns may not end up going beyond this level.

The Late phase represents the fourth tier of recruitment which typically provides a small number of elite units, some of which would otherwise only have been available as general bodyguards. Barbarian factions can reach this level far quicker than other cultures: Greeks, Eastern and Romans need over twice as much research effort to unlock.

Rome



The Roman army is unique in that it is made up of a core of Roman troops supported by auxiliaries recruited from local regions. It is also a roster that goes through a major shift from the classic Hastati-Principes-Triarii model to the Legionary model as a result of upgrades unlocked by technology. This means early units can persist and retain experience through to the end of the campaign. It also means that second tier Roman barracks can recruit Evocati Cohort in the late game so high tier buildings are not required to get the late units.

There is one Army building chain with two lines. The Auxiliary line provides a unique mechanism by allowing the recruitment of units based on the region in which the building resides. This line provides lighter spears, melee and missiles and the bulk of cavalry variety. It rarely adds any new units at tier four. Note that the House of Cornelia sub-faction reduces Auxiliary upkeep by 50% making these troops a very attractive prospect.

The Roman line provides the core melee infantry, Velites and melee cavalry. This building line will provide the backbone of your armies that then get rounded out by auxiliaries. The Siege chain has three tiers and provides a range of artillery.

There are two Naval recruitment lines, a Military one which recruits Roman 5s, 6s and artillery ships and a Patrol line which recruits auxiliary 2s, 3s, 4s and 5s. For most purposes the patrol line is sufficient and it does not consume food. Note that 4s are the most cost efficient and are only unlocked at tier four.

Early

The core of a Roman army will be the manipular model of sword wielding Hastati and Principes and Triarii spears supported by modest melee cavalry and decent auxiliaries based on region. Given the starting location, Italian Auxiliaries will be important and they provide better cavalry and decent swords compared to the Roman line and so are an option for armies that would represent Rome's Italian allies.

Navies will be Triarii 6s, javelin 5s, artillery ships and a range of 2s and 3s. Competent on the water but not as well equipped for assaulting settlements.

Middle

Rome is the slowest faction to reach this phase due to the way it which it represents the Marian reforms historically. At this point the manipular units convert to Legionaries and Veteran Legionaries unifying the Roman units around armoured mid-tier swords. Mediocre Equites remain the only native cavalry option. Inspiring First Cohorts and elite Praetorians are unlocked. Only a handful of regions provide new units through auxiliaries: Gallic Noble Horse, Indian War Elephants, Cappadocian Cavalry, Cretan Archers and Persia Cavalry.

Navies switch from spear to sword 6s and round out with strong 4s and 5s to enable well balanced fleets.

Late

The final tier of recruitment sees Legionaries replaced by Legionary Cohort, Veteran Legionaries become Evocati Cohort and the First Cohort becomes Eagle Cohort. Praetorians become Praetorian Guard. Armoured Legionaries and Praetorian Cavalry unlock in the fourth tier buildings.

Summary

Rome's armies will have a strong core of armoured swords supported by an assortment of lighter troops. Cavalry is mediocre without auxiliaries. On the whole it will not be a fast army but it will be more flexible than Hellenistic armies. Navies will slightly lag true naval factions in missile combat but they will have better melee ships. Certain regions will allow auxiliary barracks to hire very strong localised armies once legionaries are unlocked.

Rome cannot recruit from other culture's buildings and other cultures cannot recruit from their buildings, with the exception of Barbarians unit Roman ports.

Hellenistic Faction Overview



Army

Greek style armies tend towards strong spear or pike cores starting from decent militia troops. Many factions are colonies or Alexandrian successor states in far flung parts of the world so their character will be shaped by local troops.

As a template, there is one Army building chain with two lines. The primary line provides heavy infantry and cavalry while the secondary line provides skirmishers and missiles and generally only has three useful tiers. The Siege chain has three tiers and provides a range of artillery.

The final tier of their heavy barracks typically provides units that were only available as bodyguard units and take a long time to unlock through research so armies will rely on the middle tier for a long time. This mean elite units will not be available for a lot of the campaign.

Classic Hellenistic units are: Hoplites, Pikemen, Peltasts, Citizen Cavalry, Tarantine Cavalry among basic missiles and militia. In general the army is quite single style initially but gains flexibility through later units. There is an upgrade step from Peltasts to Light Peltasts for most factions and Thureos Spears provide multi-role spears to replace the slow and heavy Hoplites or Pikemen.

Navy

There are two Naval recruitment lines, a Military one which recruits 5s, 6s and artillery ships and a Harbour line which recruits lighter 2s, 3s and 4s. The Military line is required to create strong navies. Greeks unlock navy technology the faster and tend to be strongest on the water than on land. Compared to Romans, Eastern and Barbarian factions, these factions unlock their full navy in just two research steps, and this means some advanced infantry is available on sea ahead of their land versions.

Native Recruitment

The Greek factions are able to utilise Eastern and Barbarian recruitment buildings to recruit Greek units so will find it easier to expand into Persian regions. For example, Pikemen can be recruited from Infantry Tents, Companion Cavalry from Cavalry Stables and Citizen Cavalry from Light Horse Studs. Barbarian wood craft buildings allow Slingers and Ballista while bronze artisan buildings allow Hoplites.

Those factions which have Eastern or Barbarian units in their roster are able to utilise those cultures' buildings to recruit the same units. For example, Massalia can recruit Celtic Warriors from Bronze Workshops and Celtic Slingers from Town or City buildings. Baktria can recruit Persian Light Archers from Infantry Tents.

Greeks can recruit some boats from Barbarian and Eastern/Desert Kingdom ports but not the full roster, but not from Roman ones.

Carthage



While Carthage is not of Hellenistic culture, its military has a lot in common with those factions and it uses Greek buildings. With a Greek core, what makes Carthage unique is its reliance on mercenaries. It has -25% costs to maintain mercenaries and its rich factional mercenary pool contains strong mid and elite tier units. There is a relatively insignificant upgrade path for Libyan and Carthaginian Hoplites to "late" versions which provide a slight increase in armour. It also has a proud naval tradition that gives it an advantage over Rome.

Carthage uses many of the Greek buildings so can recruit from their army chains however they cannot recruit from other cultures buildings.

Early

The core of an early army will be Hoplites, javelins and decent spear melee cavalry. Libyan Peltasts can dual role as light flanking sword troops. Stronger sword troops, cavalry and missiles will come from mercenary pools, either local or factional. Expect to leverage a lot of mercenaries.

Navies from third tier buildings will be strong hoplite 6s, towered javelin 5s, artillery ships and a range of spear 2s and javelin 3s. Strong on the water but not well equipped for assaulting settlements.

Middle

At this phase, core recruit rounds out the roster bringing pikemen, mid-tier swords, strong shock cavalry and Elephants. Missiles are unchanged and beyond javelins, mercenaries will be needed to round this part of the army out.

Large heavy-towered javelin 7s become available along with hoplite 4s for cost effectiveness. Navies will still primarily be an on water power and weak at landings. The lack of long range missiles means that this force needs to get close to enemies to have impact.

Late

Late game progression is slight, bringing stronger elephants and allowing elite Sacred Band hoplite units to be recruited for armies.

Summary

Carthage fights with a Greek style core of hoplites and peltasts complemented by strong cavalry and a large diversity of mercenaries. The early game will be a challenge, relying on costly mercenaries when money is tight, but by the middle phase the armies are well rounded. However, Carthage is second only to Rome in how long its Early phase lasts.

Athens and Syracuse



Athens and Syracuse have identical rosters and technology pathways. These factions provide the most traditional Greek experience starting with a hoplite-based army and evolving to a more varied later military. Athens gets a bonus to ship experience which strengthens her naval power.

Early

The core of an early army will be hoplite based, with modest archers, slingers and javelins. Light Hoplites, Citizen Cavalry and Skirmisher Cavalry provide some mobility but are not exceptional. Basic Pikemen provide an alternate core option. Peltasts are the only sword unit which makes siege assaults a challenge, so mercenaries may be needed to round out the roster.

Navies from third tier buildings will be strong sword 6s, towered archer 5s, artillery ships and a range of spear 2s and slingers 3s. Fire Pot 2s provide some variety. Strong on the water and can assault ports with the 6s.

Middle

At this phase, the roster begins to round out with more mobile Thureos equipped units - mid tier swords, hoplites and multi-role Thureos Spears who throw javelins. Tarantine Cavalry provide well protected javelin cavalry who can mix it up in melee with missile infantry if required.

The fourth tier military docks provide no new units while the harbour provides the well-balanced Thureos Spear 4s.

Late

The last tier of heavy barracks provides elite Picked Hoplites, elite shock cavalry and decent mid tier hoplites.

Summary

These two factions will rely heavily on hoplites although their progression brings mobility in the form of lighter melee units or multi-role units. Generally always well-armoured with good shields the army will take a pounding before losing. Mercenaries may be useful to gain some mobility from regions as you expand. Navies are a strength but they lack the large ships of other Greek factions.

Sparta



Sparta relies more heavily on traditional hoplites and pikes than other Hellenistic factions. There are no dedicated sword melee units in the roster. Progression is towards better hoplites with very little flexibility in the roster. Spartan units start with 3 extra experience.

Early

The core of an early army will be hoplite or pike based, with modest archers, slingers and javelins. Perioikoi Spears, Citizen Cavalry and Skirmisher Cavalry provide some mobility but are not exceptional. Peltasts are the only sword unit which makes siege assaults a challenge, so mercenaries may be needed to round out the roster.

Navies from third tier buildings will be strong hoplite 6s, towered archer 5s, artillery ships and a range of spear 2s and slingers 3s. Fire Pot 2s provide some variety.

Middle

At this phase, the roster doesn't expand significantly, gaining Spartan Pikemen and Tarantine Cavalry.

The fourth tier military docks provide no new units while the harbour provides the well-balanced Perioikoi Hoplite 4s and Fire Pot 2s.

Late

Unlike most other factions, Sparta has a fourth and fifth tier of main barracks building. The fourth tier adds two elite hoplite units, Heroes of Sparta and Royal Spartans the first of which is limited to two maximum in existence. The final tier adds no new units but adds another recruitment slot.

Summary

This faction is all about hoplites and pikes, with mediocre missiles and cavalry. Mercenaries may be needed to bring flexibility to armies.

Massalia



Massalia is a Greek colony in the Celtic world. It has a roster very similar to Athens but incorporates Celtic troops. Being an older colony, pikes are not part of the factions roster. Their celtic units can be recruited from barbarian military buildings which makes expansion north easier.

Early

Early armies have classic Greek core of Hoplites, Light Hoplites, Peltasts, Citizen Cavalry, and Skirmisher Cavalry. These are augmented by Celtic swords, javelins, slingers and light cavalry.

Navies from third tier buildings will be strong spear 6s, slinger 5s, artillery ships and a range of spear 2s and slingers 3s. Not the strongest navy but it should be strong against neighbours.

Middle

At this phase, the roster begins to round out with more mobile Thureos-armed units - mid tier Thorax Swordsmen, Celtic Axe Warriors and multi-role Massalian Thureos Spears who throw javelins. Tarantine Cavalry provide well protected javelin cavalry who can mix it up in melee with missile infantry if required. Massalian Cavalry unlock which provide a more offensive medium cavalry option while the best hoplite unit Massalian Hoplites become available. Not as elite as Athens' Picked Hoplites, they are much more accessible so they can be more heavily used.

The fourth tier military docks provides scorpion or towered slinger 5s while the harbour provides hoplite 4s.

Late

The last tier of heavy barracks provides only elite shock cavalry, Hippeus Lancers.

Summary

Massalian armies will revolve around hoplites and spears however the Celtic units, while lower tier, provide some mobility and flexibility of formation. Missiles are pretty modest with this faction, only containing javelins and slings. Cavalry is not a strong point of the army either, as most of their units are mid-tier.

Cimmeria



Cimmeria is a Greek colony in the Nomadic world. It is an interesting mix of slow heavy infantry supported by mobile nomadic cavalry units. The secondary recruitment chain provides access to a lot of strong missile units which makes it more important than for some other Greek factions. This faction can recruit its barbarian crewed ships from barbarian military ports and steppe army units from barbarian recruitment buildings.

Early

Early armies have a classic Greek core of Hoplites and Citizen Cavalry. These are supported by cheap axes, a range of missiles including good quality archers and basic nomadic cavalry: unarmoured and armoured archers and light lancers. Unlike many Hellenistic factions, this is a pretty flexible roster which allows for different army types.

Navies from third tier buildings will be strong spear and axe 6s, towered slinger 5s, artillery ships and a range of axe 2s and slingers 3s. A pretty strong navy for its area but not a strong assault option.

Middle

At this phase, not many changes occur. Picked Peltasts unlock, an expensive skirmisher with increased ammunition that can do well in melee if needed. Scythian Hoplites also unlock, a cheaper hoplite that is a little more mobile - its unclear what the purpose of this unit is as it is lesser than Hoplites in most areas.

The fourth tier military docks provides the powerful untowered and heavy towered Cimmerian Heavy Archer 7s while the harbour provides axe 4s.

Late

The last tier of heavy barracks provides elite hoplites Cimmerian Noble Infantry and great armoured Noble Horse Archers.

Summary

Cimmerian armies will be an interesting combination of hoplites and nomadic cavalry. They have no real non-spear melee units to speak of so missiles and cavalry will be the offensive arm. Their navies can be quite powerful and they are one of the rare factions to go beyond 6s.

Colchis



Colchis is an old Greek colony that sits at the crossroads of the nomadic and eastern worlds. This brings diversity in the form of archers, cavalry and axe melee units. Their eastern units can be recruited from Eastern buildings.

Early

Early armies have a classic Greek core of Hoplites, Peltasts and Citizen Cavalry. These are supported by good axes, decent missiles and horse archers. Overall, the support units are not exceptional and may not drastically change the shape of armies. Notable is that instead of Militia Hoplites, they have the weaker Eastern Spearmen from settlements.

Navies from third tier buildings will be strong axe 4s, towered slinger 5s, artillery ships and a range of javelin 2s and archer 3s. It lacks the large assault 6s of other Greeks, the 4s are versatile ships that could be used for assaults or boarding actions.

Middle

This phase brings strong melee cavalry and good armoured axemen. It allows for a more offensive army than would be normal for basic Greek factions.

The fourth tier military docks provides nothing new while the harbour provides cheap axe and hoplite 4s which makes this faction a rare one with multiple options for 4s.

Late

The last tier of heavy barracks provides elite hoplites Colchian Nobles and armoured shock Hippeus Lancers.

Summary

Given the location of this faction, neighbours to nomads, eastern and Greek factions, Colchian armies will need to be relatively varied. In the early phase there are no standout units and with okay missiles and horse archers, good army composition and tactics will be important. However strong axes and cavalry in the middle phase give some strength to round out the roster into one where cavalry can be a key component.

Rare for Greek factions, the Colchis navy doesn't have large 6s, however early access to 4s can mean they have more cost-efficient navies with good melee troops.

Epirus



The Kingdom of Epirus has family ties with Macedon and their militaries have a lot in common. A strong Hellenistic roster, its point of uniqueness is having Elephants in its factional mercenary pool.

Early

Early armies feature the Hellenistic core of Hoplites, Pikemen, Peltasts, Citizen Cavalry and lighter missile units. Diversity comes in the form of Molossian Dogs and javelin armed axe units. The Agrianian Axemen are truly multi-role and can play a melee role if required.

Navies from third tier buildings multi-role axe 6s, towered archer 5s, artillery ships and a range of javelin 2s and slinger 3s. These provide a strong navy, and the axe 6s give a competent assault force.

Middle

This phase brings diversity in the form of mid-tier javelin-throwing spear units, Tarantine cavalry and the decent Thessalian Cavalry. Although lacking a strong sword infantry, the shock cavalry provide a mobile killing force not typical of other Greek factions.

The fourth tier military docks provides nothing new while the harbour provides Thureos Spears 4s, an efficient vessel.

Late

The last tier of heavy barracks provides four elite units. Aspic Companion Cavalry are sword armed melee cavalry, Hellenic Royal Cavalry are shock cavalry, Hellenic Royal Guard are pikemen while Royal Peltasts are a sword-armed infantry unit with javelins. These provide a very well rounded set of units for late game armies.

Summary

Epirus has the feel of a Successor state and will run pikes and shock cavalry with some local units adding flavour in the form of axemen, dogs as well as the mercenary elephants. Aside from lacking strong sword melee units, they have a well rounded roster that should be well equipped to combat other Greeks or the Roman and Barbarian neighbours.

Navies will be strong on the water with a lot of good missile ships as well as axe armed large ships for port assaults.

Macedon



Macedon is the core Successor state, run by the Antigonid dynasty in this period. Their roster has strong Alexandrian characteristics with strong pikes and cavalry in addition to its Greek basics. Their faction bonus of +20% charge bonus encourages a shock cavalry focus.

Early

Early armies feature the Hellenistic core of Hoplites, Pikemen, Peltasts, Citizen Cavalry and lighter missile units. Unique to this faction is the light shock Sarissa Cavalry. Agrianian Axemen are truly multi-role and can play a melee role if required.

Navies from third tier buildings are multi-role sword 6s, towered archer 5s, artillery ships and a range of javelin 2s and slinger 3s. These provide a strong navy, and the 6s give a competent assault force.

Middle

This phase rounds out the roster with mid-tier swords, javelin-throwing spear units, armoured pikes, Tarantine cavalry and the decent Thessalian Cavalry. Armies in this phase will be quite well rounded with the addition of strong shock cavalry and sword units.

The fourth tier military docks provides heavy towered archer 7s while the harbour provides Thureos Spears 4s, an efficient vessel. These navies can either be strong in naval battles or land assault.

Late

The last tier of heavy barracks provides five elite units. Aspis Companion Cavalry are sword armed melee cavalry, Companion Cavalry are shock cavalry, Foot Companions are pikemen, Shield Bearers are hoplites while Royal Peltasts are a sword-armed infantry unit with javelins. These provide a very well rounded set of units for late game armies.

Summary

Macedon will be a classic hammer and anvil army with a strong spear/pike core supported by top tier shock cavalry at all phases. Missiles are not exceptional but melee infantry support is competent.

Navies will be strong on the water with a lot of good missile ships as well as well armed large ships for port assaults.

Pergamon



Pergamon is Greek state that came to prominence after the Successor wars, and sits between the traditional Greek lands and the new successor states. Nearby Celtic Galatia provides some barbarian influence to its roster. Their celtic units can be recruited from barbarian buildings.

Early

Pergamon has a diverse early game roster, combining a Greek core of Hoplites, Peltasts and Citizen Cavalry with Pikemen supported by the usual light missiles and some Galatian swordsmen and light cavalry.

Navies from third tier buildings will be flexible spear 6s, towered archer 5s, artillery ships and a range of javelin 2s and slinger 3s. These make for quite a strong navy with even the 6s having missiles thanks to the Thureos Spear crewmen.

Middle

This phase brings diversity in the form of mid-tier javelin-throwing spear units, Tarantine cavalry and the unusual Picked Peltasts. These units bring a lot more mobility and javelins to the roster.

The fourth tier military docks provides nothing new while the harbour provides hoplite 4s, nothing too exceptional.

Late

The last tier of heavy barracks provides the strong javelin armed Agema Spears along with two elite shock cavalry units: Hippeus Lancers and the superior Pergamenes Noble Cavalry.

Summary

Pergamon is in close proximity to Hellenistic, Celtic and Eastern factions and can leverage celtic units to provide flexibility, while still leaning on a pike or hoplite core. They lack a strong sword unit and will rely on mobility and missiles more than some other Greek factions.

Navies will be strong on the water with a lot of good missile ships, but lack non spear melee units for port assaults.

Pontus



Pontus rose to prominence after the collapse of Alexander's empire, a Hellenistic state in Anatolia. It combines contemporary Greek troops with local Pontic infantry and power chariots. Their research progression a bit different to other Greeks, taking a bit longer to unlock later naval recruitment buildings. Their Eastern units can be recruited from Eastern buildings.

Early

Early armies have a classic Greek core of Hoplites, Pikemen, Peltasts and Citizen Cavalry. These are supported by good Pontic Swordsmen, decent missiles and strong melee cavalry. This enables quite strong early armies which will be necessary given the environment in Anatolia.

Navies from third tier buildings are towered sword 6s, towered long range archer 5s, artillery and ships and a range of javelin spear 2s and archer 3s. These allow for competent navies or assault forces.

Middle

This phase brings more melee cavalry and the versatile Thureos Spears. The Noble Blood Cavalry are inferior to the earlier Cappadocian. Powerful Scythed Chariots are available from the second tier Siege building. Given how flexible the early army is, it is not surprising that the middle phase doesn't being a lot of change.

The fourth tier military docks provides nothing new while the harbour provides poor axe 4s which gives the faction some cost effectiveness on the water.

Late

The last tier of heavy barracks provides good but not elite Bronze Shield Pikemen and the elite shock Pontic Royal Cavalry.

Summary

This faction has a strong early roster with the basic Greek core plus strong swords, cavalry and chariots. It makes for a very offensive army style but the roster doesn't significantly gain new items until the late game so there won't be a lot of change during the campaign.

Navies are quite well rounded, having large sword units and strong towered archers which should provide for all needs.

Seleucid



The Seleucid Empire is one of the most significant Successor states and is called an empire for a reason. It has a large starting domain and several vassals. As a result, they have one of the most varied rosters in the game with tools for every problem: pikes, swords, cavalry, scythed chariots, elephants, etc. Unusual for a Greek faction, they have a third army recruitment line focussing on stables that is unlocked by the Tactics research tree. Their Eastern units can be recruited from Eastern buildings.

Early

Early armies feature the Hellenistic core of Hoplites, Pikemen, Peltasts, Light Cavalry, Citizen Cavalry and lighter missile units. The roster rounds out through melee and missile camels, good melee cavalry and good archers.

Navies from third tier buildings are multi-role sword 6s, towered archer 5s, artillery ships and a range of javelin 2s and slinger 3s. These provide a strong navy, and the 6s give a competent assault force.

Middle

This phase rounds out the roster with mid-tier swords, javelin-throwing spear units, armoured pikes, Tarantine cavalry and Indian War Elephants. Rare for a faction, the fourth tier of second army line bring a good new unit, armoured archers. Siege buildings bring Scythed Chariots. At this point, the armies can be very well rounded with a lot of variety.

The fourth tier military docks provides heavy towered archer 7s while the harbour provides Thureos Spears 4s, an efficient vessel. These navies can either be strong in naval battles or land assault.

Late

The last tier of recruitment buildings (barracks and stables) provide a staggering number of elite units. In terms of mounted units there are shock Agema Cavalry and Hellenic Cataphracts, melee Azat Knights, Indian Armoured Elephants. For infantry, there are melee Royal Peltasts and Silver Shield Swordsmen, Silver Shield Pikemen and hoplite Shield Bearers.

Summary

This faction has a very diverse roster that facilitates a lot of army styles. If there is any gaps, it is the lack of early swords or horse archers.

Navies will be strong on the water with a lot of good missile ships as well as well armed large ships for port assaults.

Egypt



Egypt is one of the second of the large Successor states and is a rival to the Seleucid Empire. It represents the Ptolemaic Dynasty which took over the wealthy Egyptian lands. They were characterised by having to rely on native populations more than the Greeks colonists which gives them a very diverse roster. Their technology tree differs from other Greek factions by making the last tier of infantry barracks accessible earlier, and slightly pushing out naval building accessibility.

Early

Early armies rely a lot more on local units supported by core Greek Pikemen, Peltasts, Light Cavalry, and Citizen Cavalry. The native units have heat resistance which helps with battle against neighbouring factions. In this phase there is a lot of variety on offer: spears, pikes, swordsmen, camels, melee cavalry, and good archers. Much of it is of okay quality, and armies will most likely be of varied composition depending on the enemy.

Navies from third tier buildings are multi-role axe 6s, towered archer 5s, artillery ships and a range of spear 2s and slinger 3s. These provide a strong navy, and the 6s give a competent assault force.

Middle

This phase rounds out the roster with common Greek units: mid-tier swords, javelin-throwing spear units, armoured pikes, Tarantine cavalry and African Elephants. Siege buildings bring Scythed Chariots. At this point, the armies will have more Greek core.

The fourth tier military docks provides the largest ship in the game, heavy towered sword 8s while the harbour provides nothing new leaving the faction without cost-efficient 4s.

Late

The last tier of recruitment buildings (barracks and stables) provide a staggering number of elite units. In terms of mounted units there are shock Ptolemaic Cavalry, African War Elephants. For infantry, there are melee Royal Peltasts, Galatian Royal Guard and Royal Thorax Swordsmen, and pike Hellenic Royal Guard.

Summary

Egypt's armies start on the weak side but with good heat resistance due to them being local troops. Their Greek core is solid but will struggle in local conditions however these will be more robust when fighting in more temperate regions. The main striking power of Egyptian armies will be good archers, chariots and elephants for most of the campaign.

Navies are big and cumbersome as a result of the lack of 4s and relatively ordinary 6s. Therefore they will rely on more limited tactics.

Baktria



Baktria is a very far flung Successor state well off to the east of the map. They have a strong cavalry roster owing to their location. As with the Seleucid Empire, they have a third army recruitment line focusing on stables that is unlocked by the Tactics research tree.

Early

Early armies feature the Hellenistic core of Pikemen, Peltasts, Light Cavalry, Citizen Cavalry and lighter missile units. Local troops provide horse archers and poor axemen.

Navies from third tier buildings aretowered archer 5s, artillery ships and a range of javelin 2s and slinger 3s. The lack of melee 6s mean the navy will be strong on water but not on land. Their location however means that this will unlikely be an issue.

Middle

This phase rounds out the roster with mid-tier swords, javelin-throwing spear units, armoured pikes, armoured hoplites and Indian War Elephants. Stables unlock good Melee Cavalry. The fourth tier of second army line the high quality Elite Persian Archers. The army can have a strong missile component in addition to its armoured Greek core.

The fourth tier military docks provides nothing while the harbour provides cheap axe 4s, an efficient vessel. Other than cost effectiveness, there isn't a lot of strength in these naval additions.

Late

The last tier of recruitment buildings (barracks and stables) provide a number of elite units. In mounted units there are shock Bactrian Royal Cavalry and Hellenic Cataphracts and Indian Armoured Elephants. For infantry, there are hoplite Bactrian Royal Guard.

Summary

This faction has a strong cavalry core with nomadic flavours that allow for very high mobility forces. Equally Baktria can field strong Greek infantry armies with good eastern missile units. Weaknesses are modest melee options and the fact that shock cavalry arrives late.

Baktria has one of, if not the weakest Greek navies. The lack of 6s and that the only melee ships are peasant level axes mean that missiles need to be the main form of attack.

The have many units in common with Eastern factions so should be able to recruit cavalry and archers from conquered settlements.

Eastern and Desert Kingdom Faction Overview



These factions have commonality in buildings and research trees but are not as tightly homogenous as the Greek factions. This means there is more uniqueness to each faction and they have more local flavour in their rosters. There are a couple of grouping in this area.

Parthia and Armenia have a missile and cavalry strength. Saba and Nabataea have a lot of camels, cavalry and spears. Kush and Masaesyli have quite broad rosters with a missile focus. All of the Desert Kingdoms factions have chariots.

Army

There are three distinct army recruitment chains for infantry, mounted and siege units. The infantry line is typically single chain while the stables have some combination of light, heavy, camel and exotic lines.

The infantry line provides both missile and melee units. The light stables will more often provide missile cavalry while the heavy will provide melee and shock cavalry up to elites. Desert Kingdoms tend to have a single cavalry stable line rather than split light and heavy. Exotic stables will focus on elephants, while camel line obviously focusses on camels.

Navy

There is one Naval recruitment line which recruits from 2s up to 6s, including melee, missile and artillery ships however most of these faction lack the cost-effective 4s. Comparatively weak navies compared to Greeks and Romans, they will still provide reasonable all round forces.

Native Recruitment

Low level or local area troops can generally be recruited from Eastern or Greek buildings where there is a factional commonality. Greeks buildings typically allow Eastern, Arabian and Egyptian units while Eastern buildings allow African, Arabian, Eastern and Numidian units. Can't recruit from Roman buildings.

Desert Kingdoms have unique units that can only be recruited from the DK version of the building, even if it looks identical to the Eastern one. Those buildings hire common African, Arabian, Egyptian, Numidian excluding Elephants which makes them not very reusable by other factions really only Egypt and Seleucid minimally.

Desert Kingdoms use Eastern ports so they can recruit fully, and Greek ports only allow Eastern vessels which means that most of these factions will only benefit if they use the Eastern versions. Those which have Arabian or African will gain no use from them.

Parthia



Parthia is the primary Persian faction in the game which means that missiles and cavalry are the focus. They have three stables lines, light, heavy and exotic which all provide units. The cavalry stables unlock via the Tactics technology tree while the infantry and exotic stables unlock via the Management tree forcing a conscious decision about direction.

Early

Early infantry is pretty mediocre except for the archers and hoplites. It is a supporting arm to the cavalry which will consist of horse archers, melee cavalry as well as missile and melee camels.

Navies from the third tier building will be towered archer 5s, weak axe 4s, artillery ships and a range of spear 2s and archer 3s. A lot of archer vessels will make these competent versus navies and early access to cheap 4s provide cost effectiveness on the water.

Middle

In the middle phase, they receive better archers and some good sword melee units. Cavalry becomes strong with good melee units as well as shock cataphracts from the heavy stables. Light stables provide armoured horse archers while the exotic line provides elephants.

The final naval building provides towered axe 6s. Not strong melee units these will provide backbone against navies.

Late

The final tier of infantry building provides just elite spear armed archers. Stables provide the best tier of cataphracts as well as camel cataphracts and superior armoured horse archers.

Summary

Parthia operates on the strength of its mounted forces and it has a lot available. Infantry is very weak early other than archers, but the later Parthian Swordsmen are serviceable.

Navies are roughly on par with the average Greek faction on the water but they are weak in melee.

Armenia



Armenia is a faction on the northern edge of Persian lands. It benefits from eastern as well as nomadic military influences: good archers and cavalry.

It has three stables lines - light, heavy and exotic however no units are provided by the exotic line only wealth and recruitment capacity. All horse archers are provided by the light stables, melee and shock cavalry are provided by the heavy stables. Horse stables unlock via the Tactics technology tree while infantry and exotic via the Management tree. This means that a conscious decision around army composition needs to be made.

Early

Armenia's early armies orient around their core strength with good archers, decent shock cavalry and lots of horse archers supported by respectable axe and hoplite infantry.

Navies from the third tier building will be towered archer 5s, weak axe 4s, artillery ships and a range of spear 2s and slingers 3s. Weak in comparison to Greeks however the early access to cheap 4s provides cost effectiveness on the water.

Middle

In the middle phase, they receive better axe infantry in the Kartli Axemen and significant cavalry additions: armoured horse archers and high quality cataphracts and elite melee cavalry. At this point the faction will be able to field very strong cavalry armies easily.

The final naval building provides no new units.

Late

In the final tier of infantry buildings, basic archers are replaced by elite archers and armoured spears become available. Stables provide the best tier of cataphracts and superior armoured horse archers.

Summary

This is a very cavalry oriented faction with some serviceable infantry that will help in siege situations. They have many options for missile, melee or shock cavalry from the middle of the campaign onwards.

Navies are quite weak although should be cost-efficient with 4s and towered archer 5s.

Nabataea



Nabataea is a faction in the Arabian area of the map, precariously wedged between Egypt and the Seleucids. Being a desert faction, most of their units are resistant to heat giving them an advantage in their home terrain. This factions unique aspect is that they can adopt Hellenic military units through a second infantry building line. They have two stables lines, cavalry and exotic, the first provides cavalry, the second provides camelry. All recruitment buildings unlock through the Management technology tree.

As their basic units are Arabian, this faction will be able to make use of both Eastern and Greek recruitment buildings for those units.

Early

Early infantry will consist of modest pikes, axes and swords supported by light missiles. Mounted support is well-rounded without being exceptional: sword and spear melee cavalry, missile and spear camelry and light missile chariots.

Navies from the third tier building will be good towered archer 5s, javelin 5s, artillery ships and a range of spear 2s and javelin 3s. Good missiles ships are available however the absence of 4s is notable for this factional group.

Middle

Armies obtain good armoured archers and good spearmen from the native barracks line while the caravan building chain provides decent armoured spears. Horse stables provide two good armoured melee cavalry unit and an armoured shock cavalry unit while the exotic stables provide armoured melee camels. In this phase, armies become more resilient thanks to some armour, however the offensive power sits with the mounted forces.

The final naval building provides sword 6s. These are reasonable melee units that should give some strength for assaults.

Late

Only the native barracks has a fourth tier, and it provides elite spears. The final tier of stables provides two Greek units, cataphracts and scythed chariots.

The Hellenic barracks chain unlocks art the end of the Management technology tree, the first tier of building providing hoplites and light peltasts while the second provides armoured hoplites and armoured pikemen.

The late game dynamic allows for Greek style armies which will have a more effective infantry core than native Nabataean armies.

Summary

Nabataea is an interesting mix of relatively heavy spear/pike infantry and melee/shock cavalry. The infantry roster allows them to play a very Hellenistic style, while their mounted options provide for quite mobile armies which will be valuable to counter eastern factions. Their main weaknesses are the lack of true horse archers or powerful sword melee units.

Navies are mediocre however should be sufficient against non-Greek factions.

Saba



Saba is an Arabian faction with two notable aspects. They have a lot of camels in their roster and similar to Carthage they have a strong factional mercenary pool and upkeep reduction for mercenary units. As their basic troops are Arabian they can make use of Eastern or Greek recruitment buildings. Being a desert faction, most of their units are resistant to heat giving them an advantage in their home terrain.

Their stables buildings have two lines, one for horses and one for camels. All recruitment buildings unlock through the Management technology tree.

Early

Early infantry is pretty modest, light spearmen, missiles and some reasonable swordsmen. Horse stables provide mid-tier melee cavalry and missile chariots while camel stables provide archers, melee spears and rare lancer camelry! Factional mercenaries contribute decent spearmen, axemen and melee cavalry. These armies will be able to lean on lots of mounted options.

Navies from the third tier building will be good towered archer 5s, artillery ships and a range of spear 2s and javelin 3s. Decent missiles ships are available and the absence of 4s is a gap.

Middle

The only infantry unit from barracks are decent sword melee units however the caravan building chain provides decent armoured spears. Cavalry stables provide heavy desert lancers while the camel stables provide the most units with cataphracts, armoured archers and armoured melee camels.

The final naval building provides sword 6s. These are reasonable melee units that should give some strength for assaults.

Late

Only the native barracks has a fourth tier, and it provides elite spears. Horse stables provide elite spear cavalry. While camel stables provide elite camel cataphracts.

Summary

Saba has a pretty good roster even without the mercenaries. The factional mercenaries do help fill early gaps, particularly melee infantry. In terms of core armies, the camel roster allows for camel focussed armies which is a rare option for factions.

Navies are mediocre however should be sufficient against non-Greek factions.

Kush



The Kingdom of Kush sits south of Egypt in the Nubian lands. They have a strong relationship with Egyptian culture and draw lineage to ancient dynasties. As a faction, they have a focus on archers even having an archer bodyguard unit for generals. There is a slight Greek influence however most units are unique. This faction recruits from the slave building chain and a very high temple building provides the Disciples of Apedemak. Infantry forces are more accessible than mounted which unlock slightly later in the tech tree.

They have two stables lines, cavalry and exotic. All recruitment buildings unlock through the Management technology tree. Their base Nubian units are recruitable from Greek military buildings, while African/Aetheopian units from Eastern buildings.

Early

Early infantry is light and cheap. The have medium pikemen, modest swords, and good archers. Settlement buildings provide very cheap swords, slingers and spearmen, while the slave chain provides more swords and spears. This can allow for a quantity over quality approach. Cavalry is mid-tier sword and spear melee units and missile chariots.

Navies from the third tier building will be good towered archer 5s, artillery ships and a range of spear 2s and archer 3s. Good missiles ships are available and the absence of 4s is a gap.

Middle

Third tier barracks provide good melee swords, better archers and mobile spears. Cavalry stables provide more durable melee cavalry. Exotic stables provide Elephants.

The final naval building provides sword 6s. These are reasonable melee units that should give some strength for assaults.

Late

The fourth tier barracks building provides only elite sword melee units. Horse stables provide elite spear melee cavalry and Greek-style scythed chariots. The exotic line provides armoured elephants. The final tier of the Apedemak temple line bring elite frenzied melee units.

Summary

Kush relies heavily on infantry, in particular archers with mounted forces playing a supporting role. Very few units are particularly durable with not a lot of armour however they do have an advantage in the desert with heat resistance. Later game brings very good melee swords and elephants to broaden offensive armies however the lack of shock cavalry is a gap. Their armies may struggle against cavalry heavy factions or those with lots of armour to resist the missiles, and the use of mercenaries to fill gaps may be useful.

Navies are strong on the water with good missiles but the lack of cost effective 4s is a loss.

Masaesyli



Masaesyli is a major Numidian tribe who participated in the Punic Wars. Native armies leverage cavalry and javelins extensively but not a lot of armour. They are notable for being able to train Roman style legionary units later in the campaign.

They have two stables lines, cavalry and exotic. All recruitment buildings unlock through the Management technology tree. Roman barracks unlock at the end of the technology tree. Their Numidian and African units are recruitable from Eastern barracks while Greek buildings give them nothing.

Early

In addition to cheap infantry settlement buildings provide horse skirmishers. Infantry barracks supplies predominantly missile units. Stables allow modest javelin, melee and shock cavalry as well as missile chariots. The infantry is weak at this point and mobile cavalry and javelin units will need to be wisely used to succeed.

Navies from the third tier building will be towered javelin 5s, artillery ships and a range of spear 2s and javelin or slinger 3s. These navies have strong missiles but are weak in melee and the absence of 4s is a gap.

Middle

Third tier barracks provide armoured mid tier spears and armoured javelins. Cavalry stables provide good units: armoured javelins, melee and shock cavalry. The first stage of exotic stables provides nothing. Cavalry provides a rounded force but infantry continues to be a weak core so very mobile tactics will be required.

The final naval building provides armoured spear 6s. These are unimpressive melee units which round out a relatively weak navy.

Late

The fourth tier barracks building provides only good armoured spear units. Horse stables provide elite multi-role javelin cavalry and armoured missile chariots. The exotic line provides African Elephants. The Roman barracks chain unlocks quite late in the game, the first building providing armoured sword units and cheap spears while the second building provides better armoured swords and good armoured melee cavalry. This can provide a tougher core to armies.

Summary

This faction will be a very challenging one to fight with, requiring very mobile tactics to defeat more armoured opponents. Javelins and cavalry are pretty much their only tactical weapons until the late game, so mercenaries may be needed to fill gaps in remote areas.

Navies can be competent on the water with lots of javelins but as this means getting up close with enemies, losses can be expected.

Barbarian Faction Overview



Barbarian factions comprise several cultural sub groupings with an overarching model that is common. Compared to the civilised factions, they're more decentralised with recruitment buildings serving dual purposes. This means that having multiple recruitment areas is less of a compromise for them. Beyond the recruitment model, each subgroup has very diverse military models.

Army

Army recruitment comes from three separate chains: the bronze artisan line for melee, the wood craftsmen line for missiles and siege while the horse agricultural line provides cavalry. In terms of technology trees, the barbarians unlock their units faster than civilised factions.

Navy

There is one chain for naval recruitment. Naval combat was an extension of land combat, their ships cannot ram and they cannot build artillery from native ports. This makes them well suited to port raids as melee crews are typically strong. Generally barbarians factions can use civilised ports to build civilised style boats: melee from Persian, missile from Greek and artillery from Roman.

Native Recruitment

Barbarian factions can recruit from Greek buildings where there is a common unit in the factions. For example, several Greek factions can recruit Celtic troops so these are available to relevant Barbarian factions. The exception is Ardiaei which is a hellenic style barbarian faction and can generally recruit most of its roster from Greek buildings.

Celts - Arverni, Nervii, Boii, Tylis and Galatia



There are five factions of Celtic origin that have similar rosters with minor differences. They are melee oriented fighters with many sword options. Cavalry is melee focussed and overall missiles are okay but not great. Some of these factions represent earlier migrations to new parts of the world and so provide interesting strategic challenges.

Celts can recruit several units from Greek recruitment buildings.

Early

Settlements provide basic spears, slings and javelins. Bronze artisans provide basic swords and medium spears. Craftsman missiles are decent archers and shielded javelins. Horse pastures provide light melee horse.

Navies are small slinger or archer raiders and medium sword raiders. Galatia has spears instead of swords. Mediocre against other navies, these units are designed to raid ports and with decent melee units are much better suited to this than civilised factions.

Factional Differences

  • Arverni get frenzied sword infantry from Meeting grounds and Savage dogs from the slave chain.
  • Boii get an axe unit from the Artisan and frenzied sword infantry from Meeting grounds.
  • Nervii get frenzied spears and guerilla deployment swords from Artisans.
  • Tylis do not get archers and get Thracian warriors from Artisans.
  • Galatia does not get medium spears in the early phase.

Middle

Bronze buildings provide good sword melee units, typically well armoured. Wood provides siege units, while horse pastures either provides good melee cavalry or multi-role missile cavalry.

Navies get larger heavy raiders with elite Oathsworn on board. These are excellent raiding or boarding forces as the boat is basically free. Galatia gets good rather than elite sword units.

Factional Differences

  • Arverni gets good armoured spears.
  • Boii gets good armoured spears.
  • Nervii's good sword unit is unarmoured and frenzied.
  • Tylis actually gets two good sword units.
  • Galatia gets their medium spears and frenzied swords in this period.

Late

The late period comes early for barbarian factions so these units can be prevalent in campaign. Most factions get the ubiquitous elite Oathsworn sword unit and Noble Horse cavalry unit.

Factional Differences

  • Arverni get an elite spear unit as well.
  • Galatia does not get Oathsworn and instead gets an elite spear unit.

Summary

These are fairly one dimensional factions militarily, with lots of melee infantry to deal with inferior factions. Cavalry is pretty strong in melee but there are no shock and limited missile options. Their units are available early so they will often have an advantage one on one against civilised units.

Navies will struggle against civilised factions on the water especially those without archer boats, but will be very competent at port assaults.

Britons - Iceni



The Iceni are a Briton tribe that have a lot in common with Celtic/Gallic factions. Lots of swords, a little bit lighter armoured than the Celts and they have chariots. Briton units cannot be recruited from non-barbarian buildings.

Early

Settlements provide basic spears and slings. Bronze artisans provide basic swords and spears. Craftsman provide shielded javelins. Horse pastures provide light melee horse. Meeting Grounds provide frenzied swords and the slave chain provides warhounds. Early armies can be quite effective if the fringe units are utilised.

Navies are small slinger raiders and medium sword raiders. Mediocre against other navies, these units are designed to raid ports and with decent melee units are much better suited to this than civilised factions.

Middle

Bronze buildings provide good swords and good spear melee units, well armoured, as well as javelin armed chariots. Wood provides siege units, while horse pastures provides good melee cavalry. The lore commons line provides inspiring elite swords and the slave chain provides guerilla deployment swords.

Navies get larger heavy raiders with frenzied swords on board which are a liability on the water due their low armour. They can be used effectively on raids against garrisons, however the medium melee units will still be useful.

Late

Like the Celts, the Briton's pinnacle units are elite armoured swords and melee cavalry.

Summary

Very similar to the Celtic factions, this is a one-dimensional melee oriented faction. Where they differ is being less armoured and relying more on morale and the addition of chariots.

Navies will struggle against civilised factions on the water especially with only slingers for missiles, and the lack of elite swordsman crewed large raiders makes them less effective than other barbarians.

Germans - Suebi



This faction has similarity to the Celts with a greater variety of melee and missile weapons (such as clubs) but typically less armour. They have several frenzied units and lean towards an aggressive style. They cannot use non-barbarian army recruitment buildings.

Early

Settlements provide basic spears, javelins and club melee. Bronze artisans decent swords, clubs and spears. Craftsman provide good archers and slings. Horse pastures provide light missile cavalry. Temples provide good Spearwomen and Wodanaz Spears. Early armies will utilise archers and melee units.

Navies are slinger and archer raiders and medium club raiders. The archers give them some firepower against ships while their melee ships should be effective against ports.

Middle

Bronze buildings provide frenzied clubs and strong spears. Wood provides a melee capable javelin unit and siege units, while horse pastures provides good melee cavalry. The slave chain provides guerilla deployment frenzied spears.

Navies get larger heavy raiders with armoured swords which will make excellent raiding forces.

Late

Like the Celts, the Suebi's pinnacle units are elite armoured swords and melee cavalry. The meeting grounds provide strong frenzied units.

Summary

This faction had strong offensive melee units which are light in armour. This means they'll rely more on mobility and subterfuge against well organised factions.

Navies are not going to be strong against civilised factions but they will be well suited to raids. Archers can give them a fighting chance on the water.

Celtiberians - Arevaci and Lusitani



Celtiberians have similarities to Celts being sword-focussed however tend to be more lightly armoured and rely on more mobile tactics to win. The two factions, the Arevaci and the Lusitani, have a common core however the Lusitani tend even lighter and thus require very mobile tactics. Notable for these factions are that they can natively recruit top tier Balearic Slingers and make use of guerrilla deployment.

Early

Settlements provide cheap swords, javelins and spears. This is advantageous as most factions do not have readily available swords. Bronze artisans provide good spears; for Arevaci good swords and for Lusitani guerrilla deployment spears. Wood Craftsmen provides Balearic Slingers. Pastures provide light melee cavalry.

Navies are sword melee and javelin and slinger missile raiders. The sword raiders will make effective port assault boats.

Middle

In the middle phase, bronze artisans provide frenzied units, and for the Lusitani, lightly armoured good sword units and good armoured spears. The slave chain provides guerrilla deployment swords and pastures provide good melee cavalry.

The Arevaci obtain elite sword heavy raiders while the Lusitani get middle tier lightly armoured sword units. Both effective at raids, however the lower quality Lusitani crews is a limitation.

Late

Both get good javelin cavalry. The Arevaci obtain elite sword infantry, elite melee cavalry and good javelin cavalry. The Lusitani get elite swords with relatively light armour for that grade, but lack elite cavalry.

Summary

These factions make good use of sword units however the lighter armour, especially for the Lusitani means that they need to be more dynamic in their fighting style. The Iberian peninsula and Gallic lands will provide good terrain to make the most of the hit and run style of fighting. Many units have javelins and this can be used to have good impact against armoured foes. Navies, like most barbarians will be stronger on land than on the water.

Nomads - Massagetae, Roxolani and Royal Scythia



The Nomadic factions have cavalry as the main army component and terrible infantry. Each faction has a slightly different orientation to their cavalry strength. Technology is not required to unlock horse pastures which provide missile cavalry while bronze artisans provide shock and melee cavalry. They can recruit basic horse archers from all regions.

Navies for all are identical with poor spears but good long range bows which means missiles will determine the fight on water for these factions.

Roxolani

The Roxolani are of Sarmatian heritage and this means that they have top tier lancers (but not cataphracts) combined with mid-tier melee and missile cavalry. This is the most well-rounded of the Nomad factions.

In the early phase, they have horse archers, armoured horse archers, poor axe infantry as well as good shock and cheap melee cavalry. Middle phase brings armoured shock and armoured melee. The late phase brings elite shock lancers.

Massagetae

The Massagetae have a Saka ethnic focus and this translates into strong missile and shock cavalry rosters covering low to high tier, but no dedicated melee cavalry. The higher tier missile cavalry have decent melee stats but the lack of a spear and shield means they will be at a disadvantage against other cavalry. This faction can recruit cataphracts: horse archers and shock cavalry which is unique within this cultural group.

Their early phase has horse archers, armoured horse archers, javelin cavalry, poor axe infantry as well as good shock cavalry. In the middle phase the get cataphract horse archers and armoured shock cavalry. The late game sees the addition of cataphract and elite shock.

Royal Scythia

Royal Scythia has the strongest missile roster of the Nomads including a dual role shielded javelin unit. This is complemented by a single, top tier melee unit and decent but not top-tier shock lancers. Their armies will be very missile heavy with dangerous melee capability.

Early on they have multiple horse archers options, javelin cavalry, poor axe infantry. Good shock cavalry. In the middle phase they obtain elite horse archers and elite javelin cavalry as well as armoured shock cavalry. Late game they obtain elite melee cavalry.

Illyrians - Ardiaei



Ardiaei is an Illyrian barbarian faction with interesting recruitment mechanics. They were know as pirates and raiders historically and this is represented by the way they make good use of Greek buildings. Their roster is relatively limited and will need to leverage their mercenary bonus, however they have a good navy with Greek boats rather than Barbarian ones that enable pirate strategies.

They effectively have two recruitment approaches: native buildings and making use of captured Greek buildings. Native buildings prioritise lighter raiders and melee infantry, the Greek buildings prioritise heavier spears and slave missiles. They cannot recruit from Eastern or Roman army buildings but can recruit artillery ships from Eastern ports.

Early

Native settlements provide cheap spears, bronze artisans provide axe melee with guerrilla deployment. Wood craftsmen provide axe melee and artillery. Horse pastures provide cheap melee cavalry. The slave line provides slingers and javelins.

Tier 3 barbarian ports provide a lot of options: spear and javelin 4s, axe and spear 2s, slinger 3s, javelin spear 6s, towered slingers 5s and artillery ships.

Greek settlements provide cheap spears and slingers. Military buildings provide hoplites, melee cavalry, cheap axes and javelins. Siege buildings provide artillery

Greek tier three naval buildings provide javelin spear 6s, towered slinger 5s, artillery ships and a range of spear 2s and slinger 3s.

Middle

Native recruitment buildings unlock hoplites and two javelin armed spear units. Wood provides more artillery. The last tier of port building provides another javelin spear 6 unit.

Greek military buildings provide javelin armed spears. Naval buildings provide cost effective javelin 4s.

Late

Native recruitment buildings provide elite hoplites.

Summary

This faction has a unique playing style that encourages the conquest and use of Greek settlements for military purposes. They get pretty solid garrisons from Greek buildings which means that they don't need to convert immediately. The tradeoff is relatively weak land armies that will rely on hit and run strategies and good use of mercenaries especially in Greek lands.

Their navy is much stronger than barbarians and even can be stronger than civilised factions early with cost effective javelin armed spear 4s available.

Dacians - Getae



The Getae are a barbarian faction that have a flexible, mobile play style. Their roster contains a wide range of spears, swords and missiles as well as horse archers and melee cavalry. As their units tend to be weak than their neighbours they will rely on tailoring the armies and cheap mercenaries to win. Rare among many factions, they can upgrade four units to more capable armoured versions through technology, including a melee-capable javelin unit with swords. They cannot recruit from non-barbarian army buildings.

Early

Settlements provide poor spear and up-gradable javelins. Bronze artisans provide unarmoured two handed swords and spears. Wood craftsmen provides archers and artillery while pastures provide decent melee cavalry.

Navies are spears and javelin raiders. These are pretty weak for either port raids or naval combat.

Middle

Bronze artisans unlock stronger spears, wood provides better javelins and archers, while horse pastures provide horse archers. Armies are very missile focused at this stage.

Navies gain two handed sword heavy raiders which should help against port garrisons.

Late

The armour upgrade technology allows for armoured units across many roles. Bronze provides elite swords and spears, while pastures provide elite shock cavalry.

Summary

This faction is weak early and will have to rely on hit and run strategies and the use of mercenaries. Missiles and mobile troops become a strength before acquiring tough melee troops late. Their armour upgrades are a crucial component to hardening their armies. Strategically, they face three different styles of faction from the start which makes for a dangerous proposition: horse nomads in the north, celts and germans in the west and greeks to the south. Navies are not a strength for this faction.

Thracians - Odryssian Kingdom



Thracians were reputed to be fierce fighters and cavalrymen. The units of this faction are very offensive oriented as a result with few defensive units. There is a single upgradable unit, the Dacian Spears. Notably this faction’s mercenary pool includes good Dacian archers on land and Dacians in Greek boats on the sea. They cannot recruit from non-barbarian buildings.

Early

Settlements provide poor spears and javelins. Bronze artisans provide good multi-role javelins and offensive two handed swords. Wood workshops provide archers and slingers while horse pastures provide multi-role javelin cavalry.

Early navies are javelin and slinger missile raiders and two handed sword assault raiders. These should be competent against settlement garrisons.

Middle

Bronze provides nothing, wood provides artillery however horse pastures provides decent melee cavalry. Navies obtain heavy raiders with elite two handed swords.

Late

They gain elite two handed swords and elite melee cavalry in this phase.

Summary

This faction has no real defensive units and needs to play like a cavalry force, utilising mobility and missiles to tackle the heavier Greek factions nearby. Their mercenary bonuses can be used to fill gaps before a fight but cannot be used long term. A close relationship with the tribes to the north will allow them to focus on the Greeks to the south. Navies are very vulnerable to missiles but can be used to raid ports.

Written by Ragnar.