10 Best Factions In Rome: Total War
By Harry Alston
Published Apr 09, 2021
Rome: Total War has an impressive range of playable factions — today, we’re going to point out the best of them.
With the awesome news that Rome: Total War Remastered is just around the corner, we revisit this iconic strategy game and go back in time to the original game, released almost two decades ago.
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Rome: Total War had a range of playable factions, each with its own pros and cons. This list takes a nostalgic look back on some of the best factions in the original game, and how they might be a bit different with the changes in Remastered.
”This is all about power, power in Rome.”?
One of three playable Roman factions in the game, the House of Julii is iconic as being the faction most people began their first playthrough of Rome: Total War with. They have a strong foothold in Northern Italy, with the two cities of Arretium and Arminium.
The House of Julii is responsible for Roman expansion into Gaul and central Europe. They have access to the highest tier of Roman troops available, including the ultra-powerful Urban Cohort much later in the game. At one point the senate even demands that your Faction Leader stands down. If you refuse, it sparks civil war with the S.Q.P.R.
”My family, the House of Scipii, are beloved of the gods. A proud boast, but true all the same.”
The House of Scipii is another Roman faction centered around central Italy and the island of Sicily. They begin with two cities: Capua and Messana. The Scipii campaign is a tricky one at the start, as they have to tackle both the Greek Cities and Carthage on Sicily.
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After wrestling with Greek’s Spartan hoplites and the rampaging elephant troops of Carthage, the Scipii have free reign to expand across the rich Mediterranean, especially with their unique late-game ship the Deceres, the most powerful naval unit available to any faction in the game.
”We Brutii are the only true Romans. We saved Rome, we drove out the kings, we made the Republic.”
The House of Brutii is the final playable Roman faction in the game, and it dominates the heel of Italy with their two starting settlements: Croton and Tarentum. They’re initially tasked with heading into Greece to defeat the Macedonians and the Greek Cities.
Their campaign is not too difficult and is also probably one of the most fun, as expanding into Greece gives access to plenty of World Wonders and the chance to own some of the largest Mediterranean trade cities. Each Roman faction has its own unique Gladiator unit. In this case, it’s Velite Gladiators.
”All of Egypt lives and dies by His divine wish.”
The Egyptians are one of the most powerful factions in Rome: Total War, mostly thanks to their diverse unit roster and strong starting position. There were some historical accuracy issues with their units, particularly the use of the Chariots and Infantry axemen which had been replaced by more variations of Greek?troops by the era Rome: Total War is set in.
If left to their own devices, Egypt’s AI on Very Hard/Very Hard difficulty will likely conquer all of Asia and became the most powerful faction in the game. As a player going against Egypt it’s a good idea to take them out early. As early as you can.
”We are the envy of lesser people.”
Although the Romans eventually annihilated the ancient city of Carthage, in Rome: Total War the player gets to take history into their own hands. Originally founded by Queen Dido (a female ruler) the civilization had a rich history of trade and warfare. Carthage begins with the level-three city of Carthage, one of the largest at the start of the game. It’s an economic powerhouse and can churn out high-level units early on.
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The Carthage campaign was still notoriously difficult though, as Carthage begins at war with everyone.?They have to handle the storming legions of the Scipii, tangle with the Greeks on Sicily, and hold out against the Spanish horde in Iberia. Still, you do get elephants.
”So now?perhaps the Gods wish Greeks to be great again.”
The Seleucid Empire begins with a very large empire that spreads out across six starting cities: Antioch, the capital, Seleucia, Tarsus, Hatra, Damascus, and Sardis. If the player is not controlling the Seleucids their rather large territories will be divided up by the Egyptians, Parthia, and Armenia.
That being said, their roster of units is fairly powerful, including elephant troops, elite Greek-style phalanx, and heavy cavalry. They also have access to some of the world’s wonders, including the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. The Seleucid campaign is still quite difficult.
”Perhaps a new Alexander will take up the sword.”
The Greeks begin with five cities: Syracuse, the capital of Sparta, Thermon, Pergamum, and Rhodes. They have a strong foothold in the Mediterranean but have to deal with the Macedonians and the Scipii on Sicily, who are after the powerful city of Syracuse. This region was explored in more detail with the Total War Saga: Troy game.
The Greeks have one of the strongest rosters of infantry in the game, with the heavily armored hoplites forming the backbone of any army. Their cavalry isn’t particularly strong, but they do have access to powerful siege weaponry later in the game. Spartan Hoplites are the highest tier of infantry, but can only be constructed in Sparta and Syracuse.
”The Romans disturbed the gods, they burned the forests.”
Germania is a barbarian faction in Rome: Total War, and probably the best of the bunch. They begin with five cities: Damme, Mogontiacum, Trier, Batavordum, and Vicus Marcomanni. At the start, Germani relies heavily on its ability to mass-produce the Spear Warband.
They have a fairly limited roster of troops, but the Berserkers, Screeching Women and ax troops are all fairly strong, even if you need serious numbers to counter the encroaching German legions. This is a super fun faction to play as you send your barely-armored hordes against the organized Roman?armies.
”Invaders come here, but they do not leave.”
Parthia is one of the playable factions in Rome: Total War that doesn’t require any meddling with the files. Their starting kingdom is large, although they only begin with three cities: Arsakia, Suza, and Campus Sakae. Parthians are not known for their powerful infantry but rather the array of armored cavalry and elephant troops.
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At the beginning of the campaign, Parthia must deal with the horse-riding Scythians, the relatively weak Armenians, and the spread-thin Seleucid empire. There’s nothing quite like fielding an entire army of game-breaking Parthian Cataphracts, with destroy Roman cavalry and pretty much everything else in the game.
Alright, so this one is a bit of a joke. Numidia isn’t playable in the base game of Rome: Total War, although the faction can be accessed via the game’s files. They begin with their lands split out over Northern Africa and have a difficult time contending with the power of Carthage, Macedonia (through Cyrene, which revolts to Macedon if conquered and not pacified), and the Scipii.
Numidia has been the subject of many Very Hard challenge runs on Rome: Total War, and are the ultimate test for campaign veterans. They have basically no powerful troops available and an economy that relies?mostly on sand dunes.
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About The Author
(199 Articles Published)
Harry Alston is a writer based in the UK. He was once number one in the world on Call of Duty: Black Ops and now spends his days chasing that past glory.
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Tag: ROME： Total War