Firstly, I want to preface this almighty wall of text which stinks of tl;dr by saying three things.
1. I am not sure if this is the right forum for this, so if it is in the wrong place please send myself and/or a moderator a message for its moving to the correct area. Thank you!
2. In regards to the prementioned wall of text, I have tried
, [spoil][/spoil] and [sp][/sp] with no success. It's always been that in other forums I've been in. Any advice on doing spoilers would be great. I would love to split each chapter of the story in spoilers, and then each battle report and/or large segment into further spoilers making it easy on the eye and easy to find a certain thing.
3. Yes, this is basically a written Let's Play. The reason I won't do a video one is because I have a baby which I am sure is a reincarnation of Boudica and hosts an 8 hour screaming session every 15 minutes. Anyway, let's begin!
I have always had lots of fun reading about other people's campaigns and watching Let's Plays. They not only help me with my own games, but they are a LOT of fun too! Or at least I think so. For those of you who do not enjoy reading then I would not advise this for you. There is, in total, over 5000 words here and that's a bit much for most people.
What inspired me to make this thread is that I have just had such an amazingly fun campaign so far (for me anyway, you might find it bores you to tears!) that I wanted to share it. Starting at 'The Thracian War' and 'Barbarian Invasion' I was writing it as I was doing the campaign, whereas the chapters before that are all from memory and the records of dates on my legion history/the campaign map swords. That is why Unification, which I made just to quickly introduce people to the campaign since the early stages go by very fast, and the Greek Campaign (my invasion of Greece) are not very detailed, but later sections involve step-by-step descriptions of actions and tactics.
Mainly, in a forum where many of the posts are flaming and negative, I just want us to share our stories with each other. They don't have to be the length of war and peace with pictures and such like mine is, they can just be a couple sentences about your most epic battle or favourite war. Sometime when the campaign was so epic you couldn't leave the chair!
Anyway, here is my campaign so far as Rome on Legendary Difficulty. I am playing vanilla with no mods. I felt it was special because a World War kicked off very early into the game which is unusual and also because I am not a pro player. Im pretty mediocre. So every settlement take and every battle is really something special for me, and not just a chore like it is for many of you pro players. Feel free to offer tips, advice and requests because the campaign is still early and it might be fun to take it in a certain direction.
P.S - Still editing for grammar and such. Please mail me any mistakes. Thank you
The unification of the Italian Peninsula was a relatively straightforward affair for Lucius Libo Julius. In command of Legio II Italica he gained fame and notoriety with several lightning strikes against the Estruscan League, costing them the settlements of Velathri, Ariminum, Karalis and Lilybaeum in the space of only 15 years. Through the use of very few high quality troops deployed in tactical formations, victory after victory had come to the Legio II Italica. By the end of the Etruscan Campaign only Rome's loyal ally the Syracuse remained in control of an Italian city – their home settlement of Syracuse. It was to remain that way, for they had taken Carthage at my request after Carthage joined the Etruscans in their war against me. Rome remembers its allies. With Italy unified and Carthage gone, I could cast my eyes outward. As I was rebuilding my armies and constructing towns, Rome's ambitions were brewing. But who would be the target? In the end it was a volunteer who stepped forward.
The Greek Campaign
Near the end of the rebuilding process from the Etruscan Wars, in 250BC the City-State of Athens declared war on Rome – apparently so it could raid the valuable trade routes between Italy and the Ardiaei. I had to respond to such an action and so my elite legion, the Legio II Italica (hereby referred to as the 2nd Legion) boarded their ships and headed for Greece. In 247BC the 2nd Legion landed near Larissa in the south of Greece and were attacked by an Athenian army. Fighting against a different style of war was a shock to the system, as my method of fighting the Etruscans was no use against the Greeks. In battle with the Etruscan League I would send in my Hastati to punch a hole through the Italian Spearman line and pour into the ranged units behind. I tried this in my first Athenian battle and received quite a bloody nose from it – hoplites can stand up to battle far longer than meagre spearmen, especially when lead by a competent and experienced general who could reinforce them with abilities. An urgent flank with some cavalry was repulsed as hoplites moved into place to defend, so they wheeled away and I used my own Velites to rout the Greek peltasts. Lessons learned. As the defeated army retreated into the hills, the 2nd Legion turned and marched to Larissa. It fell without much bother.
By the time came to move on Athens itself, I felt very confident about my abilities and my armies. The 1st Legion was amassing armies in Italy ready for campaign up north and the 2nd Legion were going from strength to strength. Amassing newly invented Praetorians and Legionaries imported from Roma and with an ever growing list of battle honours and unit ranks, the 2nd Legion feared no foe. As if this was not enough, Rome's newest ally the Ardiaei were forging an empire throughout Greece and punching up into Macedonia. A trial by fire for the new Praetorian units came in the siege of Athens which was taken with relatively few losses. One Praetorian unit was cut off and surrounded by several garrison units, falling to 37 men before reinforcements arrived just in time and saw off the attackers, but that was about it. After Athens, Sparta fell soon after and the whole of southern mainland Greece was in Rome's hands. Nothing and no-one could touch me. I was invincible!
Unlike my allies. In the space of a few short years, the Ardiaei were invaded by an alliance of several Macedonian and Thracian factions. Smashed by multiple stacks and hit on all fronts their time was limited. Naturally, I rushed to their defense. By this time the 1st Legion in northern Italy was ready to take the fight to the barbarian primates and so began to head north. Seeing the tiny, insignificant Liguria tribe sitting all alone the 1st Legion had no trouble putting them to the sword and taking Genua for Rome. Victory in the air and in their hearts, the Home Guard moved up to secure Genua and keep the peace while the 1st Legion attacked and took Patavium. And that's when everything went horribly, sickeningly wrong for Rome. That's when the Mediterranean exploded.
Changes in the balance of power:
These two maps show what happened in a few short turns between the end of the Greek Campaign and the beginning of the simultaneous Thracian War and Barbarian Invasion. It is a map of alliances, not factions, which I made with CA's Campaign Map Planner.
Red – Rome
Yellow – Allies
Red – Rome
Yellow – Allies
Blue – Thracians
Green – Barbarians
The Thracian War
War may not be the right word. Frantic, bloody defense and fighting not for victory but for my very survival is a bit long winded, though. Plunging into the Ardiaei and pushing my allies right down against me in southern Greece, an alliance of the factions in Thrace, Illyria, Dacia and Pannonia banded together and brought the party to Rome. Hereby referred to as “the Thracians”, these enemies were like none I had ever encountered. Instead of one faction who I could quickly subdue in a string of blitzkrieg-style battles, I was facing a highly mobile and highly motivated alliance of factions against which there was no quick victory. Up until that point, my entire 2nd Legion – in fact my entire empire – had been built specifically to excel at lightning wars. Yet here I was stuck abroad against wave after wave of Thracian troops. First my far-out and indefensible settlement of Iader fell with little resistance against the Celtic Confederation who had joined in due to events elsewhere in my territories. Then Epi****os which I had reclaimed from those who took it from the Ardiaei fell to the Thracians.
Even with elite-ranked Praetorian and Legionary units, the 2nd Legion were conducting a fighting retreat down towards Larissa, but the Thracians had other ideas. Another, faster Thracian army arrived at Larissa before the 2nd Legion and attacked it. The Greek Guard were residing there ready to defend but the enemy were too much. Defending down to the last man, the Greek Guard made their final stand here against thousands of murderous Thracian troops. Taking down far more than they lost and even killing the enemy general in a last act to give the rest of the empire a chance they were a true credit to Rome.
While my attention was focused on Greece, a Thracian armed force landed in the south of Italy, assaulting Neapolis before I even knew what was happening. In a valiant yet futile defense of the city, my plebs and leves were slaughtered. A city inside Italy itself had fallen to invaders. Fortunately, the Home Guard were stationed in Roma and marched to the rescue – retaking Neapolis and throwing back the Thracian invaders.
Managing to fight its way back to the bottom of Greece, the battered and bruised 2nd Legion took refuge in Athens as Greece burned. What had but a decade ago been a completely safe front was now a sea of Thracian towns pumping out more troops to throw against me. A sudden and very violent barbarian insurgency had erupted in Cisapline and tied up any reinforcements that could have come to the rescue (details to be found in the 'Barbarian Invasion Campaign!) and so it was the 2nd Legion on its own. Spending two years hiding in Athens, the 2nd Legion managed to recruit and refill enough men to replace losses and took back Larissa – swiftly building up the walls to provide greater levies against the Thracian menace. Fortunately for Rome, the Thracians had instead thrown all of their might against the Daorsi, who also had fallen from a collection of settlements to defending their last capital against far greater forces. The 2nd Legion marched north and relieved Delminium, capital of the Daorsi, from the Thracian forces. Allying with Knossos who picked the lesser of two evils in having me as a neighbour instead of the Thracians, the 'Greek Alliance' began to fight back. The Ardiaei, the Daorsi, Knossos and Rome against the Odryssian Kingdom, Tylis, Getae and even the Veneti (fallout from the Barbarian Invasion Campaign). It was a truly epic war. I selected Pella as an alliance war target, and 2 years later Knossos succeeded in taking it, with the Daorsi swooping in to destroy another stack of Thracian troops that were on their way to lift the siege. Seeing such co-operation from allies of convenience was awe-inspiring. A Thracian counter-attack resulted in the destruction of the Ardiaei – my oldest and most treasured ally. Spurred on by grief and hatred, the 2nd Legion marched north and wreaked a terrible vengeance on the Thracian forces, concentrating especially on the Odryssian Kingdom who had struck the killing blow against the Ardiaei. With massive losses, both military and financial, on both sides and with barbarian hordes spilling into mainland Italy I had to end the war quick. I opted for the pen, rather than the sword, and paid heavy fines in order to end the war. Although I had lost my holdings in Illyria and Macedonia, I still retained Larissa, Athens and Sparta which provided me with a lot of tax money. Money which I would sorely need - for Rome itself was in dire peril.
Above: The situation when I made peace with the Thracian alliance. You can clearly see my loss of territory and the annexation of my allies in mainland Greece (technically Macedonia, but I have the nasty habit of calling everything there Greece), and that island of red in southern Greece is what I have left.
The Barbarian Invasion
The Horde Arrives
In taking Patavium, the 1st Legion had lit the fuse on a gunpowder barrel of epic scale. Enraged by my belligerency and fearful for their individual safety, a large confederation of tribes in Cisalpina, Raetia et Noricum, Illyria and Pannonia joined together to create the Celtic Confederation. And boy, were they mad. Army upon army came forth as barbarians poured from the alps in their many thousands. Every time the 1st Legion defeated a four thousand man strong invasion, a six thousand strong invasion force turned up behind it. Until this invasion, the 1st Legion had been a small legion of lower ranked and auxiliary troops more suited to mopping up after the 2nd Legion than taking any individual actions. Fighting the barbarians was meant to have been a training exercise, a fledgling general's dream. But this dream had turned into a nightmare.
Frantically recruiting anything with two legs and a pair of eyes to try and bolster numbers as fast as they were dying, a fourth legion – Legio IV Fretensis – was created in Rome with the aim of recruiting high-quality units and shipping them north to where this massive barbarian horde had the 1st Legion and Home Guard bogged down in constant battles. Because the Thracian Campaign was at its height in Greece, no relief was coming from the elite 2nd Legion or even from the relatively small Greek Guard. Such was the violence and aggression of this mass of tribes, it made the Thracian Campaign look like two children fighting over a tube of smarties.
With things looking dire for Rome, and the barbarians having zero interest in peace talks, the 1st Legion and the Home Guard settled in for a gruelling war of attrition, waiting for something, anything to happen. And it did. In fact, something happened that I would never have even expected was possible, let alone hoped for.
Barbarian Invasion 2.0
Massalia, an expanding tribal nation occupying Provincia west of the Alps, declared war on and invaded the Celtic Confederation. Clearly not giving a single iota of a fudge that the Celtic Confederation was A) Their own culture and
currently Europe's number 1 superpower, beating the snot out of Europe's now number 2 superpower (me!), Massalia just went ahead and invaded anyway. And even more amazing – they started winning. With the Celtic Confederation smashing their armies against me, they had nothing to stop Massalia from going behind and snapping up some of their territory. They were not doing this for my benefit which I know due to the fact they happily walked past one of my towns being under siege without helping or even making the effort to look like they care, but I was happy with them anyway. A violent, aggressive, opportunistic accidental ally is still an ally! As the Celtic Confederation marched north to deal with this aggressive (and no doubt confusing) attack on their rear, it freed me up to fully recover the 1st Legion and send the Home Guard out to Iader which was being closed in on by a Celtic Confederation army. Upon the arrival of the six unit strong Praetorian Home Guard who now, thanks to the barbarian battles and their veteran, were gold-ranked and more elite than even the 2nd Legion, the Celtic Confederation withdrew their intended invasion force north through the forest towards Segestica which they owned. In a moment of foolish hubris which I still feel angry at myself about to this day, I decided to chase them with my Home Guard. My Home Guard were small and specially-made just to defend towns. They were really good at fighting in small streets where numbers meant nothing and against enemies far away from their general. And here I was sending them to what I was sure was a smashing victory against this army. I even planned to take Segestica with them afterwards. What I actually got was my very own Teutoburg Forest.
Disaster at Segestica
I first knew something had gone horribly wrong when I was marching through the forest and the battle screen came up announcing I had been ambushed. Assuming it was that small army, I felt relief. Then I looked at the balance of power bar and noticed it was entirely red. Then I saw the mega-force that had been hiding in the forested pass like some kind of spider in a web. Oh ****.
Like always, I fought the battle manually. The surprisingly cinematic and immersive cutscene put me into the mind of one of the soldiers as we walked along. As we marched, as we talked, as we made our way to Segestica.....and as we were taken completely by suprise by thousands upon thousands of screaming axemen and spearmen, pouring out of the forest around us like something from a nightmare. Taking command, I immediately formed my elite Praetorians into a tight square in the path as best I could and then watched helplessly as every barbarian that went down was replaced by two more. They just kept coming. Fatigue starting to creep in and the units fell to one hundred men, then seventy five, then fifty. Then my general died and everything collapsed. Seeing the day was lost, one of my units tried to flee. Just one, but that's all it took. In the gap that was left, the barbarians poured in like an almighty flood. Bravely, the remainder of the Home Guard fought back to back until the last man. My most elite and prestigious unit was utterly wiped out by the Celtic Confederation whom they had fought for so long.
I was enraged. I was actually heartbroken. My Home Guard, who had defended the Italian peninsula against the Thracians and stopped the barbarian hordes from swarming into upper Italy, who had saved many a town from a gruesome fate and liberated any that fell to enemy hands......gone. I immediately paid huge fines to end the Thracian campaign and marched the 2nd Legion up towards Segestica. Like an angry, waking dragon they snaked their way through the now peaceful Greece. Except the Daorsi lands which were still getting mauled by pretty much all of Eastern Europe. Sorry Daorsi!
The 2nd Legion arrived to a scene of tranquility. Not a Celtic Confederation army, agent or pet cat in sight. All was quiet. With great worry and trepidition, I marched the 2nd Legion into the same forest in which the Home Guard fell. Suddenly, the battle screen pops up again. I have been ambushed by the same Celtic Confederation army. But this time, the spider had caught a dragon in its web. Gotcha!
The same cinematic screen greeted me and yet the appearance of the Celtic Confederation troops swarming through the forest filled me with glee, not fear. For now I was ready, I was prepared, and this was the 2nd Legion! Putting my Velites into the centre of a huge box of very heavy infantry, I proceeded with the same plan as last time – except with three times the numbers. Without their numerical advantage, the Celtic Confederation troops were massacred and driven off. Vengeance was mine! Or it would be, when I took Segestica. Yes – their second last settlement would fall to me now and that would pay for the Home Guard, for all the dead Romans littering the Cisalpine region, for Iader, for the fallen of the 1st Legion, for everyone who suffered from these hairy, unhygeinic plebs on steroids. I moved up to the outskirts of Segestica with the 2nd Legion and brought the smaller, auxilliary 4th Legion behing me as a rearguard. Once more, my hubris would bring me suffering. I had assumed I had cleared the forest with the 2nd Legion. Assumption is the mother of all mess-ups. Yet another ambush screen, yet another red bar – the 4th were vastly outnumbered by yet more barbarians. This was not going to be pretty.
The barbarians fell upon the unprepared and lower ranked Legionary force with all their might. After a brief battle, the Legion's morale broke and they fled. The barbarians pushed on and another battle commenced in which no Roman soldier survived. Slaughtered in the forest to the last man with nowhere to run.
In retaliation the 2nd Legion assaulted Segestica, to where the ambushers had fled for protection and smashed their way through the feeble garrison to get at the ambusher force led by a vile little man called Bitos, the same general and force who had wiped out the 4th Legion. The enemy were massacred almost to a man, and Bitos was hacked to death by Praetorians as he attempted to flee the field of battle. The entire settlement was razed to the ground and all captives were executed. Losing only 11 men and claiming 614 enemy lives, it was a glorious victory for the 2nd Legion and allowed the souls of the 4th Legion and Home Guard to rest easy knowing that they had been avenged.