Map Information and Basic Strategy

British Grassland

Rolling hills, a grassy terrain, and widespread trees; these words can all describe British Grassland. Although the entire map is virtually a continuous set of hills, there is one large one, on which one play will start. This hill has viewer trees, but the better defensive position is definitely there. The trees do allow for a bit of a bonus, so you might want to consider them in any game plan you have.

On this map you have several options in strategy. You could archer up and hope you get the larger hill to fight on. Then place some infantry to block the way up the hill, and potentially have a strong defense. Or, if you are of a more daring nature, you could use barbarian troops who have a bonus in the woods, and wait on your enemy to come and get you. Your other option might be to combine the two. Use a barbarian faction, who has a forest bonus, and use a good deal of archers. Even if you don’t get the hill, you should still be just fine in the long run. Cavalry won’t be at their best here, due to the trees, but they certainly aren’t going to be weak. Chariots aren’t going to be anything special either, but, just as with cavalry, be prepared in case.

Given the strength of the barbarians on this map, Gaul, Germania, Scythia and Dacia all have potential, but all of these except Germania lack dependable, solid, line-holding infantry. Scythia can normally make up for this by using their cavalry, but they have limits on this map. The Britons aren’t exceptional here, but they can hold their own. Cultures like Greece and Rome actually have a strong suit on this map as well, given the powerful infantry and archers. Egypt, being Egypt, will be decent. Cultures that lack strong infantry and archers will not be at their best on this map. So, there you have it, a Guide to British Grassland, Home to the Brits, but here is where the other barbarians come into their prime.

Gallic Countryside

Gallic Countryside, at first glance, is a relatively simple map. However, upon further examination it is easy to see that this map has a little bit of everything. The terrain, although nothing amazing, consists of a few rolling hills, which gradually lead into a few plateaus. There are a couple of patches of thin trees, one toward the center of the map, and a small amounts on the boarders of the map. This map has a grassy base, and it has a few rocks that are in the middle.

As for the idea of strategy on this map, there is a little something for everyone. If you wish, you can hide a few units in the tree patches to stage a not-so-surprising, although possibly effective, ambush. Or, you could always position yourself onto the hill and do a downhill charge. Although the effect of this will probably be fairly insignificant, you should always accept and use every possible advantage. These hills can provide a slight increase in range for your archers; however, so it would be a good idea to incorporate a few divisions of missiles units into your arsenal. You shouldn’t consider this to be an archer map, though, remember that balance is the key here. Chariots do have some room to move around, yet it isn’t exactly ideal conditions for them. Cavalry should fair decently, but no more spectacularly than on any other map. All in all, a good mix of all unit types is in order for this map.

Since balance is the key, the Roman factions are going to be mildly superior on Gallic Countryside. Seleucia, with its powerful combination of troops should also be decent, as well as Carthage. Gaul and Germania should also have a minor advantage here, given that they have strong archers(Gaul), decent infantry(both), and powerful cavalry(Germania). Many other cultures can also well, as long as they can summon a respectable force of wide-ranging troops. This map really comes down to skill and adaptation, since you need to be prepared for virtually any style of play.

Grassy Flatland

Grassy Flatland is by far the most commonly used map in Rome: Total War. Its name pretty much leaves little room for explanation as to what it looks like. Simply put, it is a wide open field of entirely mountain-less terrain. It has low grass that covers the entirety of the map. This map has no trees, no large rocks, and no building obstructions.

Give the overall lack of features, Grassy Flatland leaves the player playing on a plane that offers no direct advantages. Across the map there aren’t any points where you can increase artillery or archer range, so plan on using them for their set value. However, since there are no obstructions, the open field leaves cavalry and chariots capable to maneuver as they wish. Therefore, whenever you are playing on Grassy Flatland, make sure that you are capable of halting a cavalry charge from every possible angle, as well as defending a chariot rush into your main lines. This map, above all others, favors a sudden charge tactic, and doesn’t really play into the deceptive form of gameplay. Although there are a couple of places on the map where the grass is high enough to hide some units, typically these locations are in the middle of the map, and aren’t big enough to hide more than a few units without stacking them on top of one another.

Interestingly enough, although this map is usually chosen for its fairness, some factions definitely do have a minor advantage on Grassy Flatland. Typically, cavalry heavy cultures are able to move about as they please and flank from whatever angle is necessary. By that logic, Parthia and Scythia are relatively strong. As was said earlier, nothing is around that is able to block the path of chariots, therefore, Pontus, Seleucia, and partially Britannia and Egypt have a slight advantage as well. Alternatively, a few factions have a very minor disadvantage. Greece and Macedon have their phalangic flanks very vulnerable to those cavalry charges. Carthage could be considered at a disadvantage due to their use of the phalanx, but this is pretty balanced out by an advantage with cavalry.

All and all, Grassy Flatland provides a relatively fair and even environment for gamers to enjoy. It creates an aura of blatant gameplay that doesn’t allow for much hiding or trickery. Everything is out in the open in this map, no wonder it’s the most popular choice for everyday games.

Germanic Forest

Perhaps my favorite map in all of Rome: Total War, is Germanic Forest. Maybe it’s the patch of huge trees that makes me like it so much, or by chance it could be the very mild hill towards the ends of the map. Or it could be the darker tone of the grass, or not. This map is one that let’s you play around a bit. The backdrop shows that you are essentially in a clearing, in the heart of a large forest.

In Germanic Forest, you have a unique opportunity to play around much more than you would on other maps. The patches of high trees provide excellent cover for hiding. And, since the patch of trees is actually rather large, you can hide units, and literally have enemy troops pass by without them going deep enough to spot your troops. Under many circumstances you can hide your entire cavalry force within these woods, and make a game-changing ambush when your opponent least expects it! Perhaps you can station your main force to the far left of the trees, and intensionally expose your left flank. When your enemy hopes to flank you, you pull the granddaddy of all flanks and wipe the enemy out. In addition, archers can get a bonus in the woods, as well as some types of infantry. So, be sure to place those in the woods if possible, for maximum advantage.

Clearly, strong cavalry and strong forest units dominate this map. This gives Germania an excellent advantage here. Britannia can also fare well, but chariots have trouble engaging troops from the woods, and tend to run amok if ambushed properly. Scythia could be good as well, if you ambush properly and run your enemy all over the map with your ranged cavalry. The Roman factions are also good, because their solid infantry can hold the line against ranged cavalry and archers, and Praetorian Cavalry can ambush with a colossal effect.

Greek Shore

Greek Shore is actually one of the prettiest and overall best looking maps on Rome: Total War. It has a sea that leads up to a coast. This coast has a rocky grassland, among which there are several scattered patches of trees. In the backdrop you can even see larger patches with several dozen trees in them. Unfortunately, what you see isn’t always quite what you get. For one thing, the map doesn’t extend to those big patches of trees, much less to the ocean. So for anyone out there who was hoping for a marine beach landing of Roman proportions, sorry.

This is a map that offers several varieties of gameplay to choose from. The patches of tree that are actually on the battlefield are definitely a good place to hide archers or skirmish troops. However, the field is very wide open, and there is a mild plateau that you can use to launch some cavalry attacks from. So, in theory, this isn’t the best place to use the phalanx, unless you are very good at maneuvering them. Even then, cavalry and archers could eat you alive if you aren’t careful. One good plan might be to set up some solid infantry nearby a stretch of woods. Hide one division of impact cavalry in the woods. Wait until the enemy tries to engage, then flank them from behind.

This map really favors a culture with strong cavalry, strong archers, and solid, low number infantry. Cultures like Germania could play very well here. Egypt, Parthia, Scythia, or the Romans will be above average as well. For a dose of irony the Greek cultures: Greece, Macedon, Seleucia, and Thrace will only be average here. It’s hard to be bad at this map, so feel free to try out any culture you want, but be certain to go in with a strategy in mind.

Italian Lowlands

Italian Lowlands is a map that features a mix of gentle rolling hills, a few patches of trees, and then a larger forest, all resting on grassy land. The hills aren’t anything spectacular, but when compared to the valleys in between them, they make a big difference. The tree patches are mainly small ones, numbering about three or four trees. The larger forest is more or less on one side of the map, and hangs on to the edge of that side.

There are two major features that you can use to your advantage in Italian Lowlands. First, it is always a good idea to hide a few units in the tree patches. Although they can’t hide anything greater than just a few units, that can be enough to really turn the tide in a battle. Perhaps placing a few units of cavalry within the woods for a surprise ambush is a good idea. The second major feature that you will want to be sure to take note of are the hills. The hills can actually provide a good mount for spot shooting with archers or strategic siege positions. Placing a few long range archers on top of the high spots on the hills can let you pepper the enemy’s advancing troops with arrows earlier and harder than he can. In addition if you place a siege weapon or two on one of the hills, they will also take advantage of the extra range. A good, and potentially lethal, combination is to place the archers or siege on a hill beside a group of trees. If the enemy sends some cavalry to beat them back, flank with your hidden cavalry. Just like that, you’ve decimated his cavalry line, while also maintaining your very strategic location.

Civilizations that can use a combination of high power cavalry and strong archers are bound to do well on this map. Therefore, all four of the Roman Factions are pretty tough in their homeland. Also, Egyptians and Macedonians fair well. With a slightly larger advantage the Germans, Scythia, and the Gauls all do very well on Italian Lowlands thanks to their strong cavalry and archers, who happen to get bonuses in the woods, along with their infantry.

Italian Lowlands is a very fun map that lets you play around a bit by hiding some cavalry, while also allowing you to maximize archer use. All and all it’s a very enjoyable map that makes for great 1v1 and 2v2 matches.

Illyrian Valley

When you mix lots of hills with a good deal of trees you usually come up with a fun map in Rome: Total War. That’s the case with Illyrian Valley. This map features a very large central valley, with two of the four corners of the map being very large hills. One each side one hill is considerably larger than the adjacent valley. One side of the map has a forest on the side of the hill, while the other has terrain the gradually raises to reach the hill.

Strategically, you will obviously want to take every advantage possible from the hills. One player actually has a major advantage from being in the woods as well. That player can camp his main force on the slope of the hill, while positioning archers or ambush troops throughout the woods. One idea is to place a large group of phalanges on the top of the mountain, protecting siege weaponry. This alone is quite an advantage if you are the one who gets to play on the defensive. If you are lucky enough to be on the side that also has the woods, you can add in a few cavalry units (or perhaps a unit that has a combat bonus in the woods and can hide well) to hide in the woods protecting archers who can pepper the enemy on the way up. Once the exhausted enemy reaches your archers, ambush. The map itself really tends to favor the defender, and if you are bold enough to try to advance up the hill, be sure to do so quickly, and to avoid the woods. If you are advancing up the grassy side of the map, do so quickly while being very spread out to reduce the devastating effect of archer fire.

Any Civilization that has units with woods combat bonuses is the best for Illyrian Valley. However, they need to have decent archers and decent cavalry to properly defend. By that standard all of the barbarian cultures are strong. However, if one believes that he or she is fairly tough with the art of the phalanx, then Greece, Macedon, and Egypt can be used effectively here, especially when it comes to guarding siege.

For the most part Illyrian Valley provides a slightly challenging atmosphere for one player, and an excellent defending location for the other. Although this might not seem fair, this map is great for training a player to use the woods properly, or for a marginal mismatch that you would like to make even. None the less, Illyrian Valley is a quality map that requires strategy and quick thinking.

Numidian Basin

Numidian Basin is a barren, inhospitable landscape that provides a truly unique gaming environment in Rome: Total War. The map, as its name says, is a colossal basin that contains a mountain within it. There are no trees or anything of mention outside of this monumental crater-mountain feature. Both of the slope of the mountain and the slope of the basin are very sharp, and they each provide a good foothold that will prove crucial in battle.

The key to this map is obviously for you to be on the top of whatever portion of the terrain you are defending or charging downward from. Initially you need to make a decision: Do you want to quickly rush ahead and gain control of the mountain? Or do you want to lay back and defend your portion of the basin. Obviously, which ever you do you need to position your troops at the beginning of each battle accordingly. One good idea might be to quickly rush ahead with cavalry. This provides you with a strong force that can demolish early resistance and gain a foothold on the mountain. Later you can bring your siege or archers up the mountain for a massive range boost. Your other option is to position your troops so that they can defend the basin. Hopefully you can wait until your opponent brings his or her tired troops up the basin for an attack to order your advance. Some units have a combat bonus in deserts, this means that they will be considerably stronger on this map. It would be excellent idea to include them in your army (If not necessary!). Some units that are a must, however, are siege and/or archers. It’s also a good idea to use cavalry here, particularly if they have that lovely combat bonus.

Any faction that has desert-strong units is going to be strong on Numidian Basin. In addition, good siege and good archers are very good to have around on this map. In a further note, phalanges are useful for holding positions, which you will be doing a lot of here, while Pila armed troops can be useful as well. All of this makes Egypt extremely tough on this map. Not to completely forget Numidia on their home turf, they are probably a close second. All other cultures that have desert troops are also going to be above average. Also, if used probably, the Greeks and the Romans can use their strong infantry to do some good defending here. The only real weak cultures are the barbarians, who might have a hard time.

There you have it, one of the most original maps in all of Rome: Total War. It’s a fun map that you can really have some hard-core defending on. So whether you are a solid defender or a daring hill charger, you should find some good gaming on Numidian Basin.

Pripet Marshes

If you are the type of person who likes playing Rome: Total War in a deceiving way, then you will love Pripet Marshes. This map, is made of series of mildly rolling hills, and these hills are fairly spread out to both sides. Off to the side of and surrounding each player’s starting grid, is a wooded area. The trees are not thick or big enough to obstruct movement, but they are ideal for hiding. Since they cover roughly half of the map, they are the dominate terrain fixture. The remainder of the map is still hilly, but it is grassy, which makes for some interesting game options.

Ideally, your goal while playing Pripet Marshes should be to trick your opponent into charging into the woods. If he or she does it aimlessly enough, you can surround and cut down virtually anything thrown at you, then quietly slip back into the woods. But, unfortunately, things never seem to turn out as planned, so there are a couple of other things that you need to keep in mind. First, the forest area of the map is very large, in addition, you could be staging your ambush, only to be ambushed yourself by your opponent seconds later. One should always keep an eye on his opponent’s troops, that way, you will know roughly where they are in the woods and avoid the risk zone. Secondly, the forest is not your only option. If your opponent wants to camp out in the woods, and you believe that his or her troops would preform better, go for plan B. Send some type of light cavalry into the woods, draw the enemies attention briefly. That way, your archers will have something to target. If you are using siege weapons, then this will be even more beneficial. Also, since your enemy’s general is always visible, hitting him with some long range missiles could lure the opposing side into battle.

This map is very good for any culture with shock units. You could play as the Romans and hide Praetorian Cavalry for a massive ambush. You might want to play as the Scythians and ride around forever shooting arrow volleys. The possibilities are fairly limitless. Any faction has a chance on this map, considering that the skill of the user is really put to test here. Can you sniff out an ambush? Can you prepare one of your own? These are the deciding factors for Pripet Marshes.

Syrian Flats

Similar to Grassy Flatland, Syrian Flats is a extremely flat, featureless piece of land that is consistent throughout the map. However, this map actually has one major feature that sets it apart. Syrian Flats is a desert. There are no strategic points, no hills to control, and certainly no trees to hide in. In this lifeless place, you must learn to fight openly.

The desert is really the key to this map. In the desert units tire quickly, and some units even get a major combat bonus. Heavy troops that already lack good stamina are likely to become even weaker on this map. Like Grassy flatland, the wide open terrain tends to favor cavalry and chariot maneuvers, so be sure to include at least one if not both of them in your arsenal. Heavy infantry will have issues on this map, however, it could be used to hold a position. This has it drawbacks, though, as the cavalry can really flank well on this map. The best real strategy for this map is to use some light troops with high attacks to charge the enemy very quickly, and hit them with desert strong cavalry or chariots in the flanks. End the battle quickly before your units tire, and you start to lose control.

Simply said, this map is highly favorable to desert-strong, cavalry-strong, and heavy chariots cultures. This essentially screams Egypt. Egypt has all of the bonuses and positives for this map, and desert cavalry on this map is truly something to be feared. Numidia does relatively well here as well, and Seleucia is also strong due to their chariots. Carthage is also decent here. The Roman cultures are all above average here, but they can’t really hold their own compared to the desert factions. Greece has some major problems on this map, as their heavy infantry will have trouble moving around without tiring. Also, they lack cavalry, so precise flanking is going to be in bad shape.

All in all this is a map for battles between desert cultures. In some circumstances, other cultures can get into the action, but for the most part this map is made for the people who really lived and fought there.

Scottish Highland

One of the most simple maps in all of Rome: Total War is Scottish Highland. Despite what its name might indicate, there really are not any major features, be those mountains, trees, or large hills that would resemble a mountainous region. The map’s backdrop does contain trees, but these are not on the actual battle map. The hills are very slight and really seem to have little effect on gameplay. There are no other major features on this map, leaving it rather plain.

Strategy on this map, like many others, is pretty open-ended. It is my recommendation that one should play it the same as one would play Grassy Flatland. Cavalry and Chariots have all the room they need to move around, including the possibility of using those tiny hills to their advantage. Archers on this map must be used for face value. Don’t rely on them to gain any attack power from the landscape. Infantry are also in their normal zone here, having no distinct disadvantages other than being vulnerable to those cavalry and chariots. Ranged Cavalry should have a respectable advantage here, considering that all of this room to move around, also grants room to run away. A good idea might be to used ranged cavalry to lure the enemy’s cavalry away from the main battle field, only to isolate them and cut them down with your own mounted troops.

The cultures here are essentially on an even playing field. Factions that are typically considered strong, such as Egypt or Rome, will of course be again strong here. Numidia, although its ranged cavalry are excellent, must either use elephants or another form of shock troops to be strong. The phalanx dependent cultures (Greece, Macedon, Seleucia, etc) might have minor disadvantage, due to the strength of cavalry and chariots. Macedon, however, makes up for this by having their own strong mounted force. Parthia and Scythia are probably the best on this map, due to their strong ranged and strong melee cavalry. All in all, play this map like you would play Grassy Flatland, but pay attention to the possibility of a minor change or two.

Sarmatian Mound

Sarmatian Mound is one of the strangest looking maps in all of Rome: Total War. The scene is a Balkan country side. The ground is covered with snow, and it appears to be Around the map there is a forest, but within the map boundaries there are only a few patches of trees around the edges. The main focus of the map is a colossal mound of snowy hill.

This large hill is by far the most predominant feature and it will prove critical to planning and fighting in Sarmatian Mound. Obviously, it is key to hold and guard it. It would be a good idea to have strong troops who could rush quickly up the hill at the beginning of the game and then hold their position. Archers and Siege aren’t going to be very useful until you’ve seized the mound, so spending large amounts of them will only hurt your ability to take the hill in the beginning. Now, given that this map is a snowy one, using troops that have combat bonuses here would be an excellent idea. Taking and holding the mound is so critical, that I think it would be very difficult to win without doing so. One plan might be to have some cavalry rush up the hill, then charge downward to attack the quicker, and likely lighter, enemy troops. Once your main force takes the hill, bring those cavalry back, and possibly move some archers up to fire down on the area around the mound.

Given that this is a snowy map, and given that you need to take the hill quickly, chances are that this will be a map that suits the barbarians well. In addition, Germania can use powerful spear warbands that can hold the hill better than most troops and still get the combat bonus as well. There are not many factions that are weak on this map, however, it is fairly tough to out-class the barbarians on this map. Factions that can use heavy infantry to hold the mound, will first need to have some light troops to quickly take the hill. One or the other probably won’t have as much of an effect.

Despite the unique and odd looking scenery of Sarmation Mound, it has a very simple principle behind it: Take the hill. Although this can be considered a barbarian’s map, it can be a fun twist to use for anyone who is looking for something different to try.