In Total War: Rome II Rise of the Republic, picking Rome means picking the faction with the worst starting position in the game.
On the other hand, if you can survive into the midgame, you’ll get an ever-expanding series of advantages over your opponents. These advantages that make the game easier the longer you play until eventually, you’re just plain unstoppable.
So how do you best get past those Rome’s earlygame hurdles? It’s not simple, but neither is it terribly difficult once you get to grips with it. This guide will show you what to look for.
Step 1: Protect Your Home Province
With Rome, you start the game controlling the province of Roma, which includes the Eternal City and the port of Ostia at the mouth of the Tiber River. You also start in the middle of a war with Veii to the north, and you will soon be at war with the Volsci to the south.
Luckily, you’ll also start with a few troops that will form the core of your first legion, but there are two important things to do before heading off to battle.
First, pass the Bread & Games edict. The +4 boost to food and public order will ensure you don’t starve right away.
And second, upgrade your barracks in Rome to get access to the Roman Swordsmen.
Step 2: Hold Off the Enemy While You Prepare For War
After completing Step 1, keep recruiting Roman Swordsmen into your legion, using whatever force mix suits your combat playstyle in the Rome II basegame. The same rock-paper-scissors mechanic with swords, spears, ranged units, and cavalry applies as always.
Keep your army within reinforcement range of Ostia, and don’t worry if the enemy shows up and starts causing trouble in Rome itself. In this campaign, Rome must lose two siege battles before it falls. Meaning if the enemy shows up, they’re going to get bogged down; you then swing your legion north and cut them to pieces with no penalty at all to the capital itself.
All the while, you should be tech-rushing toward Tactical Training for the combat boosts to your troops and for the Level 3 barracks you’ll need as you move forward.
Step 3: Break Out And Kill Veii
Once your legion is strong enough, it’s time to attack.
First, hit the capital of Veii so that they don’t have access to their best troop recruitment, then swing south and mop up their port city of Cisra.
This will both give you a boost (since you control two provinces, fulfilling the first campaign objective and earning a minimum of 3,300 gold) and allow you to focus your attention on those pesky Volsci.
Finally, get a trade agreement and non-aggression pact with Tarcunae to secure your northern border.
Step 4: Prepare the Steamroller
You’ll still want to stay close to Rome at this point in the game. After you conquer the Volsci for that third province, fight mainly defensive wars while you tech up; this both prevents a civil war and multiplies your advantage for later in the game when things heat up again.
Tech-wise, the Reforms of Camillus should be your midgame goal. It grants the best endgame units early.
Step 5: Divide Et Impera
Form temporary alliances with people you want to kill later; declare war on people you want to kill now. Whatever it takes to make sure your legions are fighting in only one direction at a time, do so.
Next, make sure no one in your own faction gets powerful enough to upset the apple cart. Keep an eye on those Politics and Character screens, just like in the basegame.
Not much more to do after that but simply win the game. Roma vita et ad victoriam, Imperator! Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more tips on the Total War: Rome II Rise of the Republic expansion. If you’re looking for tips and tricks for getting started and what factions are the best to start with, check out this guide.