Undoubtedly one of the most popular parts of Total War Rome 2 are the actual massively large-scale battles that take place between colossal armies.
One of the best experiences in the game is using the cinematic view to join your foot soldiers as they march along the ground and clash with the opposing forces in mortal combat.
However to be the greatest general and mastermind on the field, you need to have your basics mastered, and have a couple of strategies up your sleeve. That is what this guide will hope to accomplish.
Here I will go over the options you have available to you in detail and hopefully at the end of it you will be better equipped to outplay your opponents.
Types of Battles and Victory Conditions
There are two main forms of Battles; Conquest and Skirmish.
Skirmish battles are the regular types that take place between two armies at any place on the map. This kind of battle is only won if you manage to destroy the entirety of the enemy forces or make them flee.
The second type is Conquest, and it takes place when you’re trying to take a city or other fortified position.
The regular victory condition still applies, you can win by routing the enemy however, there a second victory condition. If you can get to the opponent’s control point and station your troops there for a certain amount of time uncontested, you will win the battle.
Units, Generals and Morale
Each army has a General amongst its forces that is usually accompanied by an elite guard. This General and his battalion is quite powerful in combat, but if you lose him, your troops will quickly lose morale, break ranks, and flee, thus costing you the battle.
Furthermore, just being near the General will boost the morale and fighting prowess of your other units, so you’ll be losing out on a great boon if you just keep him hidden away in a far flung corner of the map.
I would recommend that you keep him just behind the front lines, and only use him in the fray when he has ample protection.
Many of your units have abilities that alter the flow of combat by enhancing your troops’ fighting capabilities or morale. For example, most Generals have the ability to inspire any one battalion. You can use this to restore the morale of any unit that is about to break ranks and flee.
Abilities are quite varied and numerous, and so I cannot go into details for all of them.
Just remember that they exist and are useful in certain situations. For example, most cavalry units have the option to dismount. While this makes them much slower and they are no longer able to charge units, they gain bonuses in combat against other units that counter them such as spearmen, who are devastating against units on horseback.
Formations are used both on the battlefield and on the campaign map. On the campaign map you can set armies to move in certain formations that give them a bonus to certain attributes.
Raiding stance means that your forces consume less resources when moving through enemy territory but get penalties to provincial happiness and movement range. Likewise you can set formations and stances in Battle mode to arrange your army as you see fit.
Another cool trick that isn’t immediately apparent is that you can set the length of a formation.
When you select a unit or a large number of units, set a move command by right-clicking but don’t let go of the mouse. This will make an image of how the army will assemble at that location and you can drag the mouse to the right to make them bunch up in a column or spread out as a wide frontline.
You can also hold the spacebar at any time to see arrows depicting the pathing of any of your moving units.
Strategies, Vision and Positioning
When you engage in battle, there are several factors that you want to take note of, the most important being terrain. Controlling a high point is vital, as you not only gain a vision advantage, but your units fight better when the enemy is downhill.
You can also use forests and other terrain that blocks sight to reposition your forces sneakily. Creating flanks is also very important, you would not believe how quickly an enemy unit’s morale breaks if you’re attacking them from all sides.
Likewise, you can use vision advantage and stealth to position your troops to counter the enemy units.
If you realize the enemy is advancing with pikemen at the front and haven’t seen you yet, you can send your cavalry to the side of the battlefield to swing around from behind while you send skirmishers to deal with the spearmen.
It can get tiring when you fight every single battle personally.
Luckily, you can use the auto-resolve feature which calculates the odds of your forces winning over the opponent and decide the result for you. It depends of factors such as general stats, terrain, number of units, and composition, although the bigger army will usually win.