The Total War franchise is renowned for its strategic depth and challenging gameplay. However, for newcomers to the series or those looking for a more relaxed experience, there are factions that offer a smoother learning curve. These factions possess unique advantages, whether it’s a strong economy, powerful military, or favorable starting position. In this article, we will explore the top 10 easiest factions to play in the Grand Campaign across various Total War titles.
Great Britain – Empire: Total War
In Empire: Total War, Great Britain emerges as one of the world’s leading superpowers. Its geographic advantage and formidable navy make it an excellent choice for beginners. With its island stronghold, Great Britain is well-protected from foreign invasions, and its powerful navy can crush any attempted amphibious landings. The British also benefit from their vast colonial empire, which provides both military and economic support. This allows players to build up their forces at their own pace, making the Grand Campaign surprisingly easy.
Egypt – Total War: Rome II
As one of the playable Hellenistic kingdoms in Total War: Rome II, Egypt starts the game with several regions under its control. These regions are highly valuable due to their abundance of food and wealth. Egypt’s Greek heritage grants them access to a core of highly trained military units, supplemented by auxiliaries. The player can choose to expand their territories by taking advantage of Carthage’s eventual war with Rome or by targeting the tottering Seleucid Empire. Egypt’s advantageous starting position and diverse options for expansion make it an ideal faction for beginners.
Shimazu Clan – Total War: Shogun 2
Total War: Shogun 2 introduces the Shimazu Clan, an excellent choice for beginners due to their advantageous starting position in the southwest corner of Japan. This location makes defending their home territory easier compared to other factions. The Shimazu Clan excels in the use of katana samurai units, which can be further upgraded with the presence of a blacksmith workshop. With only one initial enemy to defeat, players have the freedom to expand their territories as they see fit, making the Shimazu Clan an ideal faction for those new to the game.
Russia – Napoleon: Total War
In Napoleon: Total War, Russia benefits from its vast territory and advantageous starting position. The Russians already control a significant portion of the eastern map, minimizing the risk of flank attacks. It would take considerable time for a French army to reach any of Russia’s vital cities. This gives players the opportunity to build up a formidable military force. They can choose to attack the Ottoman Empire to the south or head west towards Poland. Once the Russian war machine is set in motion, it becomes challenging to stop.
The Turks – Medieval II: Total War
The Turks in Medieval II: Total War find themselves in an advantageous starting position, with no immediate threats to their territory. This allows them to focus their might on expanding their frontiers. The weakened Byzantine Empire and its capital, Constantinople, become tempting targets for conquest. Unlike other factions, the Turks have the unique ability to utilize Jihads against both Christian and Muslim factions, giving them a significant advantage. With their formidable roster of horse archers, the Turks can dominate the battlefield, making them an excellent choice for beginners.
New Spain – Medieval II: Kingdoms
Despite being initially situated in the New World, New Spain in Medieval II: Kingdoms enjoys a favorable position. From their secure base in Cuba, the Spaniards can choose when and where to launch their attacks. Although the Native American polities may outnumber them, New Spain compensates with superior technology, including gunpowder, armor, and horses. They can also form alliances with native allies to aid in their conquest. New Spain’s strategic advantages and access to advanced weaponry make them a great faction for beginners.
Gongsun Zan – Total War: Three Kingdoms
Total War: Three Kingdoms introduces Gongsun Zan, a faction with a less challenging starting position compared to its peers. Situated in the north of China, Gongsun Zan’s domain is highly defensible, making it easier to repel enemy attacks. Zan’s attributes grant a 50% bonus to reinforcement range, further enhancing his defensive capabilities. With superior cavalry units and the ability to fight as a cohesive force, Gongsun Zan is an excellent faction for beginners looking to maintain and expand their conquests.
The Julii – Rome: Total War
In Rome: Total War, the Julii faction represents the Roman Republic. Unlike the other Roman factions, the Julii face less formidable challenges in the north of Rome’s borders. While the provinces in this direction may not be as wealthy as those in Asia or Carthage, they pose less of a threat. The Julii can rely on their powerful heavy infantry, including hastati, principes, and triarii, to dominate the battlefield. With the weaker Etruscan League as their initial enemy, the Julii can swiftly expand their territories and crush their adversaries.
Sassanid Empire – Total War: Attila
The Sassanid Empire in Total War: Attila is a powerhouse in Persia and a direct rival to the Eastern Roman Empire. Its well-organized bureaucracy provides a bonus to sanitation ratings for each province capital controlled. Additionally, the Sassanids receive a substantial tributary bonus from their client states, ensuring a robust economy. With many potential rivals but no immediate danger, the Sassanid Empire has time to build up its military forces for the inevitable clash with the Eastern Roman Empire or the White Huns.
Rome – Total War: Rome II
Total War: Rome II features the mighty Roman Empire, a faction that poses a significant challenge to its enemies. The Romans start the game at war with the weak Etruscan League, which can be swiftly defeated. From there, the remaining substantial threat is Carthage and its allies. The Roman faction’s economy can be easily upgraded, allowing for the maintenance of multiple full-stack armies. Their heavy infantry, comprised of hastati, principes, and triarii, are practically unmatched. Once Carthage is eliminated, the lesser factions are no match for Roman might.
While Total War games provide challenging gameplay, beginners can still enjoy a more accessible experience by choosing the right faction. Whether it’s the strategic advantages of Great Britain in Empire: Total War or the military might of the Romans in Total War: Rome II, each faction offers unique advantages for players to exploit. So, if you’re new to the series or looking for a more relaxed campaign, consider selecting one of these 10 easiest factions to dominate the Grand Campaign. Conquer the world and etch your name in history!