Custom Campaigns: Adding Some Spice to Campaigns

by Erzin


So you've conquered everything there is to conquer, and done it on almost every faction. Now what? Try adding some house rules to your campaigns for an interesting variation.

What are Custom Campaigns?

Custom campaigns are campaigns where you impose certain conditions on yourself, whether that includes special objectives or self imposed rules. I've tried several campaigns with my own rules and, in my opinion, these are the ones that are the most memorable. Here are some custom campaigns you can try to add something extra to Rome: Total War.

Defensive Campaigns

Defensive campaigns are campaigns where you don't expand but rather defend your borders from all comers until the end of the game at 14AD. These games are typically best done with Barbarian factions because near the end game it will be your "top" troops against stacks upon stacks of Urban Cohorts, Scythed Chariots and Cataphracts (believe me, Swordsmen and Woad Warriors don't stack up too well against these guys). An alternative is to play a civilised faction but only build up to a certain point of military/economic buildings.

The major difficulties you will face are money, which in turn affects your military. Poor starting positions like Scythia will have economic issues through the whole game which will cripple your military. Plus late game you will have to face the Roman war train in all its might.

The basic rules are:

    Not allowed to expand beyond your starting territories
    Spies, assassins and diplomats can move anywhere
    Ships cannot sail too far from your ports (optional)

Some ideas for defensive campaigns are:

    The Seleucid Empire

An excellent example of a defensive campaign is SubRosa's Defensive Scythia Campaign.

Migration Campaigns

Basically migration campaigns move a faction from one part of the map to another. There is a great article about it [url=]here[/url]. Once you settle in a new land you just finish the campaign as normal.

Some ideas for migration campaigns are:

    Spain to Egypt
    Armenia to Spain
    Scythia to Italy

Migration Defensive Campaigns

This is an interesting mix between a defensive and migration campaign where you will migrate a faction to another region and then defend it as you would in a normal defensive campaign. I find this one interesting because it allows you to add a challenge to factions that would be easy to play defensively normally (namely ones with good economies).

One word of note: place limits on which regions you will capture and defend before the game starts. I started a campaign without pre setting this and ended up capturing ten settlements before I decided to stop. That's too many in my opinion. I would capture 4 or 5 as a limit.

Some ideas for migration defensive campaigns are:

    Dacia in Africa
    Scythia in Spain
    Brittania in the Steppes
An example of this is General Zavier's Western Roman Empire migration defensive campaign. Whilst unfinished it still gives a good idea of how this campaign style works.

Historical Empires

Another interesting variant is to recreate a historical empire. Find a map of an empire, work out what settlements you will need and play that faction and try to rebuild it. Simple.

Some ideas are:

    Recreate the Roman Empire
    Recreate the extent of Greek colonies
    Recreate Alexander's empire as Macedon/Seleucids (you may need Mundus Magnus for this)

Whilst I have not seen a RTW AAR on this an example is the Roman XGM campaign where the goals are to rebuild the Roman Empire at its height. An appropriate example from M2TW is here where the Roman Empire at its peak is recreated.

House Rules

House rules are rules that you, as a player, implement and enforce yourself. These are generally set from the start of the campaign and the point of them is to add an extra challenge or aspect to your campaign. Below are some ideas for custom rules and why you might like to try them.

-Set diplomatic goals: these may include not attacking, allying or actively trying to destroy a certain faction. Some ideas are:

    As the Scipii ally and actively try to help Carthage expand.
    As the Julii don't attack the Gauls.
    As the Greeks destroy the Romans before taking on any other objectives.

-Role playing: this basically means leading the faction as your leader would. Got a war loving lunatic as a leader? Sent armies to foreign lands with the main purpose of causing as much trouble as possible and only exterminate cities. Is your faction led by someone who idolises the Greeks and their culture? Refuse to destroy them and make alliances with them.

-Power limitation: only develop buildings or use troops up to a certain point. Some examples include:

    Not using Urban or Praetorian Cohorts, instead just using legionaries
    No chariots as Egypt
    Don't build farms or traders as Germania

This area really is only limited by your imagination, so let it run riot!


This brief article is meant to give the experienced Rome player the chance to play some unique custom campaigns with a variety of different rules. I hope you find this extra dimension both challenging and interesting.