Wrecking with the Romans

By Red Pig

As RTW gamers have gotten more experience they have branched away from the Roman factions and have found many decent multiplayer strategies with other factions. I have noticed that the tactics section is lacking in the Roman area (except for the historical legions which work quite well) and some simpler strategies. This strategy is a combination of the post Marius legion style and some creative thinking.

Troop Selection:

The Romans in my mind are the most versatile faction in that they have powerful cavalry, infantry, archers and siege such as heavy Onagers. To implement these as much as you can on a 20k denarii budget, in my mind your army should consist of 5 units of Praetorian cavalry (make sure one is your general), 2 units of archer auxillia, 2 units of heavy Onagers, 2 units of Triarii, 5 urban cohorts and 4 Legionary first cohorts. After purchasing these I give my Onagers 3 bronze chevrons each to make them pretty accurate and give both my Triarii bronze weapons and bronze armor. For the rest of my money I give my generals unit 1 chevron gold weapons and bronze armor. You can upgrade your troops however you want but I recommend upgrading the Triarii because if the enemy has cavalry they will be a great help in keeping your cohorts safe.


I deploy the troops like this. Place your archer auxillia at the front of your deployment area with your Onagers right behind them. You can place the Onagers wherever you want but I place them at the front then move them back when the enemy gets to close. Likewise with the archers keep them on skirmish mode so they retreat behind your lines while the enemy is advancing. Now for the infantry "Poor Beggars". Stretch your Triarii into the longest line they can make then place your urbans in a line behind them. (Make sure the urban and LFC lines are the same length as the Triarii) Behind the urbans go your LFC's. You can put the Triarii on the flanks if you want but I find that players who are bombarded by Onagers and archers don't think much they just charge. Finally place your Praetorian cavalry in one large mass on whatever side of your army you choose, preferably where there is a hill or you can gain some tactical advantage. Make sure your urbans and LFC's are on fire at will and guard mode. As well put the Triarii on guard mode. For the Onagers use fire and as well as guard mode and make sure they fire at will. For the archers keep skirmish mode on as well as fire at will and you can choose between fire or not. See attached photo:

So clean and orderly. Too bad battles aren't like that.

Unleash the missiles:

In the first part of the battle your opponent will undoubtedly have some kind of artillery at his disposal. Now later in the battle this could cause you real problems so I advise you to destroy it with your Onagers. They aren't as accurate when they use fire so turn that off and tell them to attack the enemy Onagers. When they are destroyed turn fire back on and tell them to attack the enemy general. With their chevrons they shouldn't have a problem destroying the general unless he is charging at your troops already. At this point your foe will probably start marching towards you and this is when your archer auxillia will open up. With the Onagers they will undoubtedly cause huge casualties and you might even cause a few unit routs if you are lucky. But when the enemy is close to your archers pull them back behind you lines along with the Onagers the tell them to continue to fire.

This is a simulation. No actual people where harmed. And don't you just love to see Iberian infantry fighting urbans LOL though it's so pitiful it's almost humorless

Smash with your infantry:

By now the enemy will probably have reached you knowing that marching merrily along will result in more casualties and now the real battle begins. I will relate to you one battle where I used this strategy against another roman. He charged his Praetorian cavalry towards me from the side and as my Triarii where engaged at the front I was slightly worried. But miracle of miracles my legionaries threw their pila. I have never seen a unit of cavalry rout so quickly. Then another unit of Praetorians charged at the same side, same results utterly annihilated. But anyway your infantry being the best Rome has should be able to withstand just about anything anyone can throw at you except maybe Spartan hoplites. Now the bane of this strategy is elephants. If they manage to bypass your Onager fire they will tear your nicely formed line apart and leave your soldiers in the dust. So if the enemy has elephants they are priority number one even over enemy Onagers for your Onagers to destroy.

Too bad they got my onagers. Those darn Iberians must know something

Mopping up:

The title says it all. With your Praetorian cavalry you should sweep down from one side exterminating everything in your path, and with 4 units there is almost nothing they can't rout. At this time take all your infantry out of guard mode and tell them, as a group, to attack anything that moves. With your archers again attack anything that moves, and with your onagers use normal ammo and fire at anything that moves. Tell your general to join up with the other Praetorians and then there are 5 units with excellent morale and with this force exterminate all archers and other infantry. This should leave you with a depleted infantry force plus a bunch of cavalry, some archers and possibly your onagers if you got them out of the way in time. If some routers have managed to regroup attack them with your cavalry and you should be left with a heroic victory. A good thing about it is this strategy should cause the enemy to "play into your hands". As soon as your artillery open up you should see how much they follow your movements not the other way around. This strategy won't win all the time so be prepared for an occasional defeat but I find it extremely sound and well rounded.

You will never get results this good as no one will attack you with an army of Iberian infantry. This was just for the screens. Oh and the enemy general died just to clear things up