Lord Ahm’s Guide To Reducing Army Upkeep

By Lord Ahm

Since there has been made and asked continuous threads and questions about how to stop losing money in Rome: Total War, I decided to make a guide. Person after person have asked for help after they are losing money and can’t understand why. “My big cities are losing lots of money! I have to exterminate!”. Read this before you do. This guide will help you gain a better grasp on your empire, improve game-strategy, your financial moves and improve overall management of your empire.

First you need to understand what army upkeep is. Army upkeep is an amount of money you have to pay each turn, how much money depends on how big your army is. Food for your soldiers and keeping weapons and armor in good condition are two things that is part of the army upkeep.

The army upkeep is divided on all your cities. For example: You have a huge army in Arretium, that army needs money to maintain itself. The army upkeep in that army will not be paid by Arretium just because the army’s location is at Arretium. The upkeep expenditure will be divided to all your settlements, and the one with most citizens will pay most money.

That is why your bigger cities are loosing money, those cities have so many citizens that they pay a large part of the army upkeep.

Then why not exterminate, so that there will be fewer citizens?

Exterminating won’t help you in the long run. Sure, you get some thousand denarii that turn, but the army upkeep will just be divided to other cities. If you exterminate a large city, that pay a lot army upkeep, the income will simply decrease a bit in all other settlements, the amount they will decrease is identical as the one you loose in the big city you exterminated.

Example: Patavium is your biggest city, in Patavium there are 18 000 citizens. The income every turn is -2800 denarii. You exterminate and the population drops to 6000 citizens. You are now making 800 each turn in Patavium. “That’s great!” you think, but in the next turns -2400 denarii is divided to the income of your 4 other cities.

How can I reduce the army upkeep?

To reduce the army upkeep, simply reduce the amount of soldiers! You still need forces to defend and expand your territory. You don’t need much garrison in cities that are surrounded by your own regions. Have a look at this:

Here we can see that the player has a lot more garrison than he or she needs. Arretium and Ariminum have full stack garrisons! Both Arretium and Ariminum are surrounded by the player’s own regions (and the other Roman regions, but the player don’t have to worry about civil war yet), therefore the player doesn’t need much other garrison than one or two units. The other cities probably don’t need that much garrison either, the armies should be out conquering new lands, not stay idle in a city.

As you also can see, the money issue isn’t going too well. The player has too many forces, and too few cities to handle the army upkeep. So many forces creates a huge army upkeep. Patavium has 17075 citizens and is the biggest city with most citizens. They pay most of the army upkeep. Segesta has only 556 citizens, and pays very little army upkeep. If the player disbands or fights with some of the garrison, the army upkeep will go down. If the player does not get rid of some of the troops, or get some new cities, the money will go even further into the minus because the upkeep is too big for just six cities.

This is a much better situation. The player has placed small garrisons in Arretium and Ariminum, and is concentrating the big armies on the borders of the empire. Since the huge garrisons are gone, the army upkeep is now much smaller.

So, if you want to decrease your army upkeep, try smaller garrisons and concentrate your main forces on conquering new lands and defending the borders of the empire.

What units should I use as garrison?

If you left-click on any unit, you will see their stats, if you look at the bottom of this list, you will see: “Upkeep” and there you see how much upkeep the unit require. The most ideal unit for garrison is Peasants. They are cheap, have a lot of men and cost only 100 denarii upkeep. Town Watch/Town Militia also have only 100 denarii upkeep. And remember: 30 Peasants are just as good as 30 Urban Cohort when it comes to garrison. It is the numbers which matters in garrison, not quality. That’s why Peasants are so good. It can, however, be smart to keep better quality troops as garrison in cities which are in danger of being besieged (since fighting isn’t exactly the Peasants’ forte).

I followed your advice, but the citizens in the city are unhappy since there are so little garrison present!

If there are a governor in the city (or the city not is auto-managed), lower the taxes. If the city is auto-managed, set the policy to “Growth Policy”. This will lower the taxes and make the citizens more happy. You lose some income, but you’ll make that up when you get rid of some of the army upkeep. Personally, I use Growth Policy in all my auto-managed settlements, and have low tax in my governed settlements. Then I can have a small garrison and I save a lot from army upkeep.

Update: Some thought it would be a good idea to add some general tips:

– If you is in the possession of a large empire, it can pay off to make your capital more central. Example: If you own all of Italy, Greece and Africa, you would set your capital as Sparta, rather than Rome. This causes most settlements to get less “Distance from capital” and will improve your public order.

– Also (I think most of you know) Greece is the wealthiest area on the map. If you own all of Greece, your sea and land trade will produce heavy money.

– When you hold the cursor over a building, it will say for example: “Paved Roads (Greek)”. If you build a Roman Highway, the building will not be Greek anymore. Your Culture Penalty will decrease when you have more buildings of your own culture