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  • Mini Guide: Getting started with Rome II

    Getting started with Rome II

    So you got Rome II, installed it, patched it and are ready to seek glory in the ancient world! But you're stumped - everything is different! What is going on? You haven't played since Rome 1, or Medieval 2. Or maybe you played a lot of Shogun 2 but the changes to the food system don't make sense to you. Then read up and feel free to experiment (and contribute) to this mini guide.

    For the purposes of this guide I will assume that:

    - You know how to play the game (ie. move on the campaingn map, lead battles, recruit units, conduct diplomacy etc.)
    - You have played through the introduction campaign if you are a brand new player

    I will illustrate what and how to do with the Roman faction (because this is Rome II: Total War, and because we must bring glory to the S.P.Q.R.!) but once you get the hang of it, you can easily transfer your knowledge to another faction with mininal adjustments based on their building and tech trees. I'm playing the game on Legendary so if you are playing on an easier difficulty you might find your faction more rich or stable and thus adjust accordingly.

    Note: some of these things might and probably will be changed with subsequent patches. The guide is valid as of patch 1 and will be updated if/when I discover discrepencies with the most curent patch.

    So you start with Rome and some other cities, a couple of armies and a nice weak enemy faction to the north of your borders. I won't tell you how to do things step-by-step as I abhore cookie cutter guides. I will tell you WHY to do these things, and you will then decide how to play the game.

    I willl suggest that, for the start of the game, you chose one general from your family. If you don't have a general from your family - recruit one using the raise forces button (recruit him in Rome). if there are none, get an "Other Families" genreal. Because for the first 10-15 turns you will reallistically be able to support only one large army, and it will be getting all the victories. You don't want a rival family getting that glory because you will have no means to counteract that and if your senate support drops you might find yourself in a pickle (unlikely, but possible).

    How to recruit units in a warscape engine TW game

    Move your army ("stack") to the edge of the border of the settlement you plan on conquering (Velathri for starters). Then you recurit (in this case: 3 units of Hastati). Your army can recruit the troops available for that province, regardless of where they are sitting so long as it's within the borders of a settlement belonging to the province. So if Rome is your main production center, you can raise your legionaries in any settlement belonging to the Rome province.

    I suggest disbanding all the Vigiles units in your starting armies - there is no need to pay their upkeep and food, they are useless at this stage (and probably at all other stages as well). If you need more skirmishers, make use of the superior Veites units.

    When/if you recruit a new genral make his unit a Triarii unit, as they just do not die to early Etruscan/Carthagenian troops. Same if you've unlocked Legionaires.

    After you recruit your Hastati and have consolidated your forces in a single stack, move in and take the two settlemetns from the Etruscan league, thus completing the province of Roma. Move on to the isles to your west and finish the Etruscans off. By this time, especially if you're the Junii who get a diplomatic penalty, Carthage will dislike you severely and might have already declared war. That's ok - go and take Karalis if you haven't already, thus completing Corsica et Sardinia as a province.

    As the Romans, early on it makes total sense to run Bread & Games as an edict. Really, you can't go wrong with public order and food. Plus you don't have the necessary infrastructure to warrant boosting it with an edict.

    Technology: what to get and why

    At turn 1 start on Supply reforms. Beeline to Cohort Organisation.

    > > >

    This should take you around 10 turns. Reasoning: this gets you Pretorians/Legionaires with a max level barracks at that tech level. These troops are absolutely sufficient for a good while (and probably for the entire game if you like). Once you can, return your main stack and upgrade your hastati/principes to their counterpart legionary units.

    Choose a single unit production center. This has to be a provincial capital that will be dedicated to making units only. I highly recommend Rome. In it, get as high a barracks as possible + as high a temple to Mars (or equivalent war deity) as possible. Once you get to the training camp techs, also add one as well. The minor cities should be dedicated to the usual food+trade with exception to Neapolis which should get a workshop once you get the tech for further improvement to your armies.

    Once you get your army tech down, get these in this order:

    Land Management > Tax Labour > Water Sluicing

    > >

    Reason: 3 growth per city for free is great. It's essentially free food for cities, and it's very easy to get this tech.

    From here on, research tech as you need it. Improve your buildings. I highly recommend Concrete so you can get a Gladiator School as it's a very advantegous building to have for province development and it's unique to the Romans. From here on, get the tech to upgrade your minor settlements, farms and sewage systems as needed.

    Attacking Cartage, adding more legions:

    You should be able to steamroll Carthage, your units are vastly superior and the AI minor faction in Africa actually weakens Carthage quite a bit by the time you get to them. Consolidate the African provinces to the best of your ability and trade with as many factions as you can (but that won't be too many at this stage). I advise against picking a fight wit Syracuse as their armies are actually better than what Carthage or Egypt will field. Attack them after you can dedicate two legions to the fight.

    Province development:

    As Rome (and indeed any mediterranean faciton) you get acces to the Trading Port line of buildings. The barbarians don't have that. Threfore, it is folly not to use the increased trading income from those! Everyone can get fish, but only some can get a vast naval trade network.

    I'll talk about minor settlements first as their development is easier. Go for level II Farms, Level II livestock and a level II trading port in all of them.

    Only upgrade settlements that produce a resource, prioritizing those that produce grain and fish as they add food instead of consuming it (mouse over your settlement icon to see what it says. If it says Roman Hamlet (Grain) or (Olives) etc. upgrade it. If it says (Market) DO NOT UPGRADE IT. you will lose food for basically nothing but some growth and money)

    Why I advise you get trading ports everywhere you can and not fishing ports: early on growth is not that important and you can't eat all your food because you can't keep recruiting units and refurbishing conquered settlments wtih buildings of your own culture. Because your legions get very experienced very fast with fighting and champion training, and because with a tier 3 barracks and the appropriate tech you are vastly outclassing your enemies, you will be very effective even with just two legions at this stage.

    Thus the extra food only brings growth, but you can't make use of that growth unless you have the money to get the extra buildings. Later on, if you start running into food issues and subsequently, you already get a lot of gold per turn, feel free to convert your trading ports to fishing ones.

    How to add extra buildings and where

    At the start it's more beneficial to have more slots in your minor settlements as they are cheaper. Adding +1 to three settlements is cheaper than adding the fifth slot in the capital. And the minor settlements are what gives you food and money at this stage.

    Growth works like this: every province has a growth pool. It's supplied by global food surplus combined with the local factors such as how upgraded the settlements are. There is no point in making your main settlment in the capital province bigger if you have resource producing minor settlements which you will have to upgrade anyway, since they will not only add to your economy but also share their extra growth points with the entire province!

    You start adding extra slots to the provinical capital and getting the high tech buildings there once your minor settlements can support them with food and money.

    OK here is the tricky part - all the minor settlements are producing food from the farms and livestock and money from the trading ports. Those who are making resuoruces you have upgraded to tier 2 or 3 as technology permits (thus increasing the produced grain, fish, leather, olives, glassware and so on. More produced resources = more trade, thus more money.)

    But what to get in the provincial capital? Well for starters, keep in mind that most of the building lines are only worth getting in provincial capitals as minors can't get tier 4 and 5 buildings.

    The first thing to understand is that provincial capitals are good for two things: public order (happiness) and extra stuff. For gold and food, you have minor settlements While technically you can specialize a provincial capital for monetary income (Industry buildings, Town Center line for income, income temple etc.) it doesn't really make sense. You get gold from increasing your total number of owned settlements, not dedicating a provincial capital to pure gold income and thus losing out on extra stuff and eating food for it. Gold will come as you expand, and since the armies are capped (and they are your main expenditure), this the value of gold is diminished the bigger you become. However the value of global bonuses, food and good units is universal.

    To better illustrate how province capital and minor settlement interract, imagine a scale where the provinical capital is on the left, and with it: how happy the people are and what extra bonuses you can get (such as: global bonuses, reserach bonuses or unit recuitment). On the right of the scale are the minor settlements that bring with them food and moeny, and eventually - squalor which is negative public order/happiness.

    Take a look at your province as a whole. How you develop it is based on how many minor settlements you have in that province. There is no point in puming up high tech buildings in the capital if there are only one or two minor settlements to pay for them. The scale will tip to the left and thus other minor settlements elsewhere in your empire will have to help fund them.

    So, the most valuable provinces are the largest ones (naturally). In the smaller ones, only add buildings that grant global bonuses such as the Cloaca Maxima or Circus Maximus and Pantehon and nothing else. I'll get to this later.

    In big provinces wtih 3-4 minor settlements, you can decide what to get in that province. However, you must and should plan according to your faction's specific buidlngs. Let's look at what Rome gets as advantages over the rest:

    Circus Maximus

    Improved Bread & Games edict which is already improved once because you are Roman - a great bonus.
    Global 5% to cavalry morale - awesome bonus
    160 wealth from culture (not bad)
    and 30 public order per turn at NO food cost!!! this is a MASSIVE imrpovement over the tir 4 building which costs 10 food to give lower bonuses to public order. Absolutely one of the best buildings in the game.

    Where to build it: Since it has no food cost, you must build one in every single capital province you possess. There is no reason NOT to build it. The Colloseum provides much lower bonuses at a food cost. And champion levels are easily obtained by stationing them in legions to train troops (where they belong). This building will allow you to have 3 x 12 squallor farms for example and still be at +6 happiness for the province out of the building alone.


    Further improved Bread & Games edict - great!
    +10 to security vs. agent actions (good)
    +14 to latin culture spread (good later on when you can quickly get it and stabilize the whole newly conquered province)
    + 2 global public order (awesome! Having 10 of these will make new conquests massively easier)
    + 20 public order at the cost of 10 food.

    So this building grants (among other bonuses) a net of 22 public order for that province in return for 10 food. You see that it can easily counteract some farm/trade port squallor issues and is a prime candidate for building. If stacked with the Circus Maximus you can safely develop a rich province to max resources/food/trade production and have happiness to spare.

    Cloaca Maxima

    The level 4 pooping man is also a unique Roman advantage building and has some very good bonuses:

    Moderate boosts to tax harvesting edict and spread of latin culture (ok-ish)
    + 12 growth for that province (basically there is no reason to ever upgrade province capital cities if you only need the growth and not the garrisons and money increase, since 12 growth per turn from this baby is more than enough)
    + 3 global growth per turn!!!! As I said, global bonuses are great. This one more so than others... It's basically free food once again, but there is no limit to how many you can get. Getting about 5-6 of these will give you so much growth you will quickly max out your building slots. Spare the expense of city upgrades unless you have more food than you can spend at max armies and have more public order in that province than you can utilize via the minor settlements.

    So how do you balance all these. Well, at first you will have level 2 buildings in your minor cities which only produce and don't cost anything in return. At some point you will build a Gladiator School in, let's say Carthage. That gives you 12 public order and drains 4 food. For that 12 public order you can upgrade Lepcus to a Roman Small Town (Grain) as well as get two farms up to Irrigation Ditch level. That will give you 25 food, and when we count the cost of sustaining a Gladiator School, we get a net profit of 21 food which is then distributed across your empire.

    Later on, you might want to add a Cloaca Maxima, Pantheon and perhaps an Amphora Factory, and also upgrade all your trade ports to maximum since your populace will have surplus happiness in that province.

    On the other hand, it doesn't make sense to add a Pantheon in a province that will not be able to make use of the public order it provides when counting in that it will have a Circus Maximus. It also makes no sense to ever build a temple in a minor settlement - remember: Temples are only for provincial capitals! The slots in the minor settlement are too important and lower level temple bonuses are not really worth it.

    You should experiment and find the best balance for your empire and don't be squeamish to demolish and rearange the buildings in newly conquered settlments - the AI has no clue how to plan it's building distribution.

    After conquering Carthage

    You should now be rich enough and strong enough to continue with your conquests. Egypt is a great candidate because of the grain resources there. Greece with it's squabbling nation-states is also a good direction to head to. Remmber to always march your legions shoulder to shoulder - two legions on the campaign map are virtually unbeatable most of the time and you can autoresolve all but the most important battles thus you get to streamline your rulership.

    As far as general and agent traits - always take bonuses to campaign movement range first. These are your #1 priority - the further you can go in one turn, the more value that army has. I'd preffer 12% movement bonus to 20% damage any day!

    Use your diplomacy wisely and set up trading partners as all those resources you churn out will make you rich. Also, look at the campaign map and target provinces with resources you might covet.

    Good luck and Roma Victor!
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Mini Guide: Getting started with Rome II started by Myth View original post
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