Rome Total War Imperial Campaign
Parthian campaign FAQ
written by: BHoang (Parthian_Horn)
0 - Changelog
1 - Author note
2 - Views
2.1 - Geographical
2.2 - Surroundings
2.3 - Military
2.3.1 - Parthian Troops
2.3.2 - Hirelings
3 - Building Parthian empire
3.1 - Survival
3.1.1 - Diplomacy
3.1.2 - Economy
3.1.3 - Expansion
3.2 - Divide and conquer
3.2.1 - The road to Rome
3.2.2 - Bribery
3.2.3 - Subterfuge
3.3 - Management tips
4 - Parthian battle styles and tips
4.1 - Diversion tactic
4.2 - Battering ram tactic
4.3 - Close quarter tactic
5 - Credits
6 - Legal
7 - Contact info
NOW THEN LET'S RIDE!
0 - Changelog
This version is 1.1 with the following changes:
- The changelog existence itself
- Changed quite a bit the author note
- Fixed some grammar mistakes and lining
- Added Management tips section.
- Minor modifications on sections
1 - Author note
I write this FAQ mainly because I have not seen one here and maybe some of you
are struggling with Parthian Imperial Campaign.Though it is already 2009, I
still write this FAQ regardless people might call me an out-dated noob or 40
years old virgin(I just do not care). I like this game and I just want to
contribute something to Total War community. Another reason is that I feel the
same with players who get uneasy when they cannot finish the campaign of the
game that they love.
This guide is considered incomplete for the time being because I want to wait
for everyone's comments, contributions etc.
English is not my first language so there will be parts that you may not
understand or confuse. Feel free to email me for clarifications. This is my
very first FAQ and most of the things included in here are collected by my own
playing experiences(I hope it pays off for wasting so may hours of my life
lol) if you find some of my informations within other FAQs, please do not
judge me as a cheater :(
PS: This FAQ is for players who know their way around Rome TW and can apply
for very hard difficulty. Others who barely know can still get ideas from it.
Please keep in mind that all battle styles are primarily applied for campaign
fights with AI only, not REAL players.
2 - Views
Your empire starts off on the far east of the map (or at the end of the world
to be precise game-wise). Your beginning settlements will be: Arsakia, Campus
Sakae, Arsakia and Susa. 3 settlements of yours control a large region so you
can hire more mercenaries since their spawning rate is higher than other tiny
little regions. However, this advantage is outclassed by a number of
consequences. Your regions are large: Tribus Sakae (Campus Sakae) and Media
(Arsakia), you will have troubles moving troops, controling rebels blocking
trades and your road sucks because it cannot be improved.
Even though your faction is at the end of the map and only contains three
settlements at the beginning, your regions spread so large that you have many
neighbours to keep an eye on. To the west, the Armenia with same fashion of
missile cavalry and the big Seleucid empire who historically pull the strings
behind your Kings. To the south as you might expand later, the Egytps, your
biggest obstacles in the path of world-conquering. To the north, the Scythian
barbarians with strong missile attacks also. Therefore, the pressure on you
when playing Parthia is almost as high as playing the Seleucid Empire.
If you might have checked Parthian units in Custom battle mode or online
playing etc. You find that Parthia has a lousy selection of infantry. The
backbone of Parthian army is horse archers and persian cavalry along with
super heavy cavalry Cataphracts
B.3.1) Parthian units
Below are your avaiable units to recruit in settlements:
-Peasant: Other than transfer citizen use, you do not have much other
purposes to buy them. Low morale
-Eastern Infantry: Your town watches with low morale
-Hillmen: I dont know what they are for but I bet some of you do (normal
-Slingers: Last resorts for siege resisting (normal morale)
-Archer: Your forttress when resisting a siege (normal morale)
-Horse archer: Archer-ranged mounted units, powerful skirmiser (way more
useful than the lousy Pontic Cavalry with range and ammunition
superiority) with normal morale and "fast moving" but very bad at hand
to hand combat unlike their javelin colleagues
-Persian Cavalry: Fight just like horse archer but have higher stats,
more importantly high melee attack factor which enable them to fight as
light cavalry should the need arise. Also they do not have fast moving
trait but good morale in combination with melee combat capability make
them the best cavalry in the world. In addition to that, the training
time is 1 turn so massing them is just easy and effective like Roman
Note: If some of you may not know, holding alt to order charge home for
melee combat when the enemy status is "pursuing" will give you charge
advantage and your enemy will not have it since they pursue you not
-Cataphracts: Super heavy cavalry armoured from head to toe, dedicated
to charging assaults. Good morale.
-Cataphract Camels: Super heavy camel riders who are also armoured to the
teeth! The effect against horse is hard to see if you do not pay
attention because you only use them against infantries. Cavalry units
fighting against camel will rout more quickly.
Note: The fatal weakness of Parthian mounted units is that they do not
wear shields, therefore being locked up in close quarter fights means
a lot of disadvantages for you.
-War elephant: This war machine can be deployed to increase your fire
power in combination with persian cavalry or they can be intimidating
tankers so that you can take time to arrange some mischiefs with your
cavalries. However, unlike cataphract elephants, you can only recruit
them at regions where elephants are avaiable.
-Onager: Some of you may have fun times with these pigs but I have long
given up on them. Wooden wall sieges then sure.
If you play other factions which have a good collection of infantry, you
find little use for mercenaries apart from holding settlements. Sometimes
you also need melee calvary mercenaries to back up in combat at the early
game when you have nothing but horse archers.
Below are the hirelings that I would recommend you. (Others which I do
not mention are not the right types to serve in Parthia army)
-Eastern Mercenaries: This units is best when need someone to watch the
town and you have no barracks while your main force have to mobilize
immediately. (poor morale)
-Arab Calvary: Mounted unit with normal morale and fast moving traits can
effectively head bump cavalries who pursue your horse archers.
-Bedouin Archer: extra fire power is always welcome and keeping them near
the pursuing cavalries can cause them flee the moment they get past your
-Bedouin Warrior: The best unit for you to counter the annoying desert
-Cretan archer: The mercenary I love most in the game. Unlike Egypts,
barbarians and Romans, Greek factions and easter factions do not have
long ranged missilers, putting them in disadvantages when exchanging fire
Cretan archer has the golden trait of long range missile. You know that
you have to recruit them every chance you see them. The only problem is
that they are poorly armoured (they die quickly if the enemy returns
fire) and they run out of ammunitions faster than regular archers.
-Thracian mercenaries: What you need when assaulting walls. (normal
morale) well capturing towers and gates to be precise
-Bastarnae mercenaries: same as thracian ones but they have good morale.
Good for wall assault
-Scythian mercenaries: same as horse archer, give you more fire power.
-Sarmatian mercenaries: Good morale heavy cavalry who can perform in
place of your cataphracts for a while.
-War elephant mercenaries: Same as Parthian war elephants.
Note: Mercenary experiences upon hiring varies from region to region.
For example: you get 3 exp hoplite mercenaries in sparta region but
less exp in others.
Caution: over use of mercenaries may result in addictions which might
impact your gaming experience and performance !!.
3 - Building Parthian Empire
Your start is almost the same as the Seleucid Empire except that you do not
have the greedy Egyptians at your door step so you do not have too much early
military pressure on you but you are POOR and your settlements suck.
No Egypt at your doorsteps yet... for a number of turns that is. Well, around
you are Schythian, Armenian and Seleucid empire. Every turn you have to check
the diplomacy to see if any war is approaching you. At the very beginning,
send diplomats to Schythia and Seleucid to make alliances. You need to
approach the Scythians before the Thracians do. If the Thracian gets their
alliance with Scythian, prepare for a heroic defense of Campus Sakae and an
invasion from the north. However the Scythian controls a small number of
settlements with big region so they have their own hard time controling their
own settlements, therefore the chances of Scythians going to war with you is
pretty slim and they normally accept your allience proposal. Same goes for
Seleucid Empire, they have no choice but to ally with you to prevent threats
from behind because they are locked in battles with Egyptians.
One remaining threat is the Armenian. The chances that they will ally with you
for a several turns is 50/50. If they have an early ambition of crushing you,
they will turn you down immediately and you know that you have to prepare
yourself . Later event will trigger to decide how hard it will be for you when
all factions (Pontus, Greek, Armenia and Egypt) gang up on Seleucid Empire and
this event is unavoidable.
Well, my point here is that Parthia has a tricky beginning that many players
find it impossible to carry on. Diplomacy is all but everything you have to
ensure that you can survive until you get decent resources and army to push
forward. For example: If Pontus is at war with Armenia, you know that you are
safe so that you can focus on growing your faction and put military on the low
Push your tax rates to max. Population of your regions will not grow fast
enough even if you set tax rate low. In addition to that, the bad road system
also hinders your population growth even further.
If you dont believe me, you can try and see that Arsakia can never reach
12,000 population even with Crop Rotation and low tax.
Here is my hint for your start: Focus on income generating and public order
constructions in campus sakae once you get alliance with Scythian. Scan your
trade route between Susa and Arsakia to make sure no rebel blocks it and if
there are any, bribe them, do not kill them because part of them are archers
who are currently valuable for now because your time and condition do not let
you afford an archery range yet. There are also rebel horse archer for extra
fire power and rebel peasants ready to accelerate your settelements' growth.
First impression you get when playing Parthian campaing at very hard
difficulty is that everything sucks including tax rate and your surroundings.
You can be crushed like an egg or die in poverty. However, later on, you will
see that Parthia can push the maximum income of a settlement to 8,000+
Among 3 starting settlements, Campus Sakae is a pain for you because it is so
far from capital. Any attempt you make on increasing tax seriously hurts
public order and the population does not grow either.
Depending on the alliance with the Scythians, you can keep recruiting peasants
from Campus Sakae to ship them to Arsakia to accelerate the growth to 6000
population to be able to recruit persian cavalry, your world conquering unit.
A large number of your settlements at the start are inland. Therefore, minor
city is the ideal growing objective then you can stop the population growth by
any mean you know to stabilize incomes. Keep that in mind if you capture any
portless settlements. The bad road system is also your advantage in stopping
With a good starting economy, you can expand in any pattern that you want.
This is my suggested starting expanding pattern.
Phrasspa ===> Dumatha ===> Bostra ===> Jerusalem ===> Sidon
===> Antioch ===> Tarsus ===> Damascus ===> Palmyra ===>Palmyra ===> Salamis
===> Artaxarta ===> Kotais ===> Hatra ===> Sinope ===> Petra ===> Memphis ===>
Alexandria ===> Thebes
If the Armenia picks on you at the beginning, take them out first then focus
on Egypt. You may wonder what I am talking about. Well, simply put this is the
order of the settlements that you should capture which is more relaxing
because most of your time is contributed to economic expansion in your heart
land and you always have your denarii with you to hire, bribe, recruit any
large army. After conquering the whole Asian Minor region and Egypt region,
you can choose your ways to reach Rome.
You can choose the middle patch which is the best plan which you will invade
Greece mainland, where has already been conquered by Roman Brutii. Or you can
go South and reach Italy through Africa and fight off the roaming Roman Scipii
Or you can even go North, finish off the rotting Scythians, crush the Thracian
remnants and strike from the north via Julii territories. There you can also
capture the settlement Themiskyra of top north (make the amazon warriors your
slaves ^^)I took all three routes at once to storm the whole Roman empire.
3.2: Divide and Conquer
3.2.1) The road to Rome.
On the North, your alliance with the Scythians should be stable
because they have a lot of internal problems with their... people. However you
should not capture Campus Alanni because that settlement is hopeless as it
only gives you -1,000 income as the population grows. Capture it later if you
want to expand north or just to add it to your collection.
Returning to the start. Once you have captured Dumatha of Arabia region, you
should start garrisoning your units there and wait for your chances. The
Egyptians will not pay you a visit after a couple of turns because they are
locked up with The Seleucid empire and Numidia but they will later. Watch them
closely, move your army near Bostra and capture it whenever it is left
vulnerable. Since your army are all mounted so the positioning to get there in
one turn then get a group of eastern hirelings to use ram is not hard.
Eventually, the Egyptians having you striking their flanks and Seleucid
keeping them occupied up front will be weakened and die off by your hand.
Note: I strongly suggest you finish Egypt as early as you can but consider
letting them take Antioch and Tarsus first because this will cripple the
Seleucid empire, they will not be able to have great army to fight you later.
Parthians find Egyptian hardest to beat. If you resort to attacking Seleucid
and Armenia first then you will be facing both Pontus and Egypt. Pontus will
not be a problem. I tried this and even though I won, that took too much
efforts and my economy became really unstable since what I could really get
from the Seleucid empire leftovers (Seleucia and Hatra ??? what is the point?)
Defense of Dumatha against Egypt can be tricky but you can do it thanks to the
high mercenaries spawning rate Anyway, You can wait for Persian cavalries to
be available from Susa so that you can perform a better hit on Egypt. Once you
capture all Egypt, the remaining enemies are Armenia and Pontus waiting for
you to come and kill them Having Tarsus, Antioch as military bases you can do
a 2 way push via Tarsus and Kotais. The Asia Minor will fall into your hand
Normally, the peasant will revolt in campus Alanni and kick the scythian army
out. You can just come and kick the slaves' asses to get the settlement
without declaring war to Scythia but that is the end for them. If you prefer
challenges you can start conquering northern regions.
Basically, Egypt is the only considerable obstacle on your path to glory.
After Egypt and Pontus you will find other factions very relaxing and you
would probably be bored before you could take Rome because all you get in
battles is running scarecrows. I will discuss why in battle styles section.
Note: The Romans will require you a lot of patient and efforts too because by
the time you expand to them, they had already had Marian reform. And a lot of
cities to recruit units to harass your cities.
Parthia is a good faction with good wealth generating system. Logical savings
always let you have a sufficient amount of denarii to buy an overwhelmingly
strong army thus bail you out of a harsh situation.
When fighting Egypt, whenever you see too many desert cavalry units and bowmen
bribe them right away or they will be giving you a hard time.
From the start, you rely heavily on rebels. They are cheap to bribe. Send your
diplomats to every corner to instantly buy multiple units in 1 turn.
For a small faction with a lot of potential threats like Parthia, intelligence
is vital. With a lot of spies standing around, you do not have to prepare many
units in a settlement which might not be attacked at all.
The main characteristic of Estern regions is that they are mostly big. A spy
network not only show your enemy movement on your territory but also the
rebels who can be converted into your force.
What I love most about spies is that they screw up enemies' settlements'
public order. The more subterfuge skill the worse he can screw up a settlement
And the second best thing I love about spies is that they can find each other.
Most of the time you wonder why a settlement has too much unrest though it has
been peace for like 30 turns. Check out for spies.
Note: Parthia can build law enforcement building which grant the retinue of
Torturer to commanders so that they have more chance of detecting spies than
other factions which cannot buy law enforcement building.
Assasins are valuable too when there are good generals that cannot be bribed
and you cannot waste your time finding them because you are on a long drill to
capture enemy settlemet. Although the chances are slim but once you could get
rid of that general, you can bribe the whole army cheaply if you do not want
casualties knowing that even a bigger army is waiting for you.
Besides, even if the Scythians refuse your alliance proposal, you could send
your spies into Campus Alanni to screw up public order thus locking them up in
their own city.
3.3: Management tips
Being an estern country with a far east capital. The further you expand to the
West, the more capital distance petalty you get for public order. Consider
making Cities in Asia minor region capital so that your capital can be in the
map center thus balance the public orders of rich cities in Greece mainland.
Do not worry about the easter cities as the population will not grow. Adjust
your tax to keep the people from rioting and minimize loss or maximize profit.
Huge cities are the cities that you cannot completely eliminate cultural
penalties because they have already had another culture's final administration
buildings, the buildings and houses inside those city can never be converted
into your culture. As population grows, public order will decrease termly at
a rapid rate. When you feel it cannot be helped anymore, let them revolt,
slaughter them to reset public orders.
4 - Parthian battle styles and tips
If you think you are good at cavalry, play Parthia and you will be punching
your keyboard until it breaks. Having cavalry charging enemies while your
infantry holds them off is just a very simple tactic.
NOTE: If you are used to Rome or Spearmen style you may find high speed
cavalry warfare frustrating because all of your units routs in a blink of eye.
When you play early campaign with just horse archers, do your keyboard a favor
be civil and replay if you lose.
CAUTION: Parthia has almost no infantry and this faction's infantries suck, do
not bother with them or they will just hurt your cavalries' morale.
First of all, I would like to mention that you should have some micro skill
because the speed of cavalry battle is pretty high. Plus, good timing is
needed sometimes as you have to give an decisive blow to get rid of enemy's
The basic concept of horse archers and Persian cavalry is keep firing at the
enemy from a long range, lower their number so the cataphracts can charge in.
Return to my complaints about the Egyptian army. In fairy fight (excluding
tower luring) the Egypt normally has 2 chariot archers unit at flank backed by
melee chariot. Still they are not that hard to beat. What I am talking about
are the desert cavalry and bowmen. As cavalry, these desert guy have 160 per
group with fast moving trait and even effective against amour (high melee
attack factor)even cataphracts have no hope when fighting close quarter with
them. About the bowmen they have an insane number of 240 per group. There was
cases which a bowmen unit wiped out half of my horse archers in just 2 blows
I had loose formation on too
Normally if enemy has ranged unit, I would use my horse archers persian
cavalry to focus fire on them but fire exchange with egypt is not recommended.
No matter how many times you try you will be out gunned and the desert cavalry
will slaughter your units too.
So... What would you do ?
given the condition which you have 10 horse archers units and 2 arab cavalries
2 bedouin warriors and 2 bedouin archers. And the enemy has 4 units of bowmen
with a horde of infantry and chariot archers and desert cavalry securing both
flanks. Of course you have no hope for a frontal charge and you would be
slaughtered by fire exchange.
My answer is that you still use fire exchange but you focus on the flanks
where chariot archers are located. The chariot archer may look nice themselves
However 3 soldiers are on one chariot, chariot archer can be outgunned by any
ranged units. In addition, once the battle is commenced, they have a nasty
habit of going out far from their main force, making themselves very
vulnerable. Once we have finished the chariot archers. Go to:
4.1) Diversion tactics
There are two way to pull this off:
-Pure horse archer or persian cavalry with other troops' support
-Horse archer or persian cavalry in co-operation with cataphracts.
First choice is that you surround you enemies with ranged cavalries and shoot
from all directions. Normally the enemies cannot chase all of your cavalry
units because their cavalry units are limited too. If they chase you they
cannot catch the horse archer and slaughtered by supporting melee cavalries
or coup de grace by the persians themselves.
The purpose of this diversion tactic is also to stretch out the enemy
formation to make them thinner so that the cataphracts or melee cavalries can
finish by a decisive frontal charge at the enemy center
Remember to turn of fire at will of the persian cavalries on the back of your
This tactic works best against the multi layered formation of Roman legions
and can spoil the enemies' plan of surrounding their archers in the hope of
out firing you because you fire at them from all directions so their archers
die very quickly.
Organise: Devide your army into 4 diversions with 3 horse archer/persian
cavalry each then cover the enemies' flanks and back then start by aiming at
their archers first.
I do not know how they really called it but historically this was used in
battle of Carrhae. Best used against especially Greeks.
4.2) Battering Ram tactics
At battle deployment, make your cataphracts into a single column formations
and point straight to enemies' center. You can form as many columns as
possible but can you con trol all of them? ^^;; This tactic is specialised for
fighting an enemy army with single line formation of infantry, cavalry at
flank and mass archers on their back. Still work against phalanxs but some of
your units will rout and the failure rate is high. Your Ram's flank will be
supported by persian cavalry or cataphract camel to disrupt enemies' cavalry.
NOTE: You can target different units but they must be near each other, not
just only one. Just follow the formula two cataphract units for one enemy unit
Make sure there is a good gap between your cataphract units. Once the initial
charge is over, make the unit at front run over the enemy line and head for
enemies' archer behind. Either they keep distance or join the fight it does
not matter because the cataphract can just run over it. You have to make gap
between cataphract units in order to give the unit behind a clear path for
charging so that it will reach 100% expected power and you have some time to
move your previous unit over the line. Make sure their ranged units does not
have a chance to shoot their arrows or javelins.
The enemy will surely flood to the ram points to fight you. Stop ramming
when you see it too crowded because your ram will not get through. When you
notice the enemy units are marching to the ram point you made, use the
remaining force and the units that got through your enemies' line to charge
them from flank and behind. Infantries are more likely to rout when they get
flanked while marching and their flank protectors are under attack.
If the initial charge fails and no enemy infantry rout, you still succeed in
running through the line and slaughter all of their ranged units. You could
either reform the ram and do it again or switch to mimi diversion tactic. Note
that if you have more than 2 units ran through enemies' line, you could form
more than 1 ram and ram multiple points from both sides.
This tactic works in uphill combat condition and needs a lot of micro but can
still break the whole enemy army at once even with just 12 units of 8
cataphracts and 4 persian cavalries.
Tested vs Greek armoured hoplite (enemy had full slots) though I used a bit of
diversion tactic at the first but it still is pretty much a success.
4.3) Close quarter tactics
Unless you have war elephants, never try this stunt with your cataphracts
because you will be wasting your troops. I have been thinking over about this
tactics. People who are more used to infantry-cavalry co-operation will most
likely use this because they need some tanks in order to control cavalry well.
Simply make the elephant units charge. Wait til enemy surround your elephant,
charge with cataphracts. While your enemy infantry busy surrounding your
precious elephants, send your persian cavalry units to chase the archers so
that they cannot use flame arrow to poke your beasts running amok.
This tactics does not require cataphract. Persian cavalry can do the damage
dealing well by melee combat
CAUTION: Parthian units are best deployed on open ground. These tactics are
limited in Jungle combat or Urban combat. If the enemy hide in the forest
or most of the battle field is the forest, consider withdrawing. In term of
siege, wait for enemy reinforcement to come then fight on open ground. When
you are under siege, sally right the next turn before they could finish any
siege equipment. Pull all units out of the settlement to have to open field
advantage. Have archer units cover your way out.
E - Credits
Activision for the game
Gamefaq.com for giving me EditPadLite link and accepting the guide
The part of my life I have wasted for this game
You who may read this
Neighbour FAQs for the basic layouts of a FAQ
F - Legal
This guide is under completion. Therefore there is no guarantee to your
personal safety when using :)
You may post this FAQ on other public website but no editing is allowed
G - Contact
If you feel like helping me completing this FAQ or find any mistake or need
clarifications, email me: email@example.com