Today we bring you a collection of units from three civilizations in Rome: Total War. The Britons, Egyptians and the mighty Carthaginians are all represented. For more information about the game, check out our preview.
Peasants are reluctant warriors, but barbarian peasants are better fighters than most: hard lives produce hard men. Numbers are useful in all armies, and forcing peasants to fight is one way of getting lots of men in the field quickly and cheaply. They have little tactical sense, and even less willingness to fight - they would rather be defending their own homes than be dragged to a battle they neither care about nor understand. They are, however, experts at reading the land and hiding when there is cover.
A sling is a deceptively simple weapon: a slinger can bring down the strongest man with a single shot. These slingers can send a hail of bullets towards the enemy, and target their shots for maximum damage. After all, they will have been hunting with slings since boyhood. Slingers should not be allowed to get into melee combat, as their lack of armour and their relative lack of equipment - just a knife or short sword and a shield - will soon lead to them being cut to pieces. Used to kill enemies from a distance, they are superb missile warriors.
In battle, head hurlers throw the heads of fallen foes coated with quicklime. These missiles are both dangerous and loathsome. Head hurlers combine the practical and the macabre in equal measure - they collect the heads of fallen enemies and preserve these by dipping them in quicklime. The limed heads are used as disgusting missiles in battle, flung into enemy ranks at surprisingly long range. As missiles the heads are heavy enough to cause injuries (and have an undoubted impact on morale) but it is the lime that really does the damage, causing nasty burns. Head Hurlers also carry swords for use in close combat should this be necessary. Head hurlers, however, also show little regard for their own danger and are not above rushing into combat without orders.
Warbands are bound to the service of a strongman or petty village head. They are the basic 'unit' to be found in many barbarian armies. They fight well, as glory and loot are the road to status, but are often difficult to control. They care little for discipline and less for restraint, but they can be relied on to fight, and fight hard. In warfare it is up to each man to prove his own bravery and worth, so the savage charge into the enemy is about as sophisticated as they ever want to be! Each man carries a stabbing spear and a large shield.
Swordsmen are steadfast and aggressive warriors, the 'infantry of the line' for barbarian warlords. They are not very disciplined at times, as their sense of honour and bravery can make them eager to get into any fray, but they are uniformly superb swordsmen. They are equipped with good swords and large shields. Every warlord worth the name makes sure he has a couple of warbands of these hard men under his command.
Chosen swordsmen are the best fighting individuals in their tribe, and armed with the finest swords available. While superbly skilled and extremely tough, they are not naturally inclined to fight as a group. Personal glory and the need to be first amongst the enemy ensure that they are headstrong and ill-disciplined. They are, however, very well equipped with the finest swords that the smiths can make, along with chainmail armour and large shields. They are an intimidating sight for any enemy.
Religion and magic are powerful reasons for bravery. Woad warriors are brave fighters - and mad. They disdain armour and most clothing, preferring to paint themselves with intricate and stylised magical designs in woad (a blue dye) to deflect enemy blows and missiles. The patterns created can be elaborate and almost inhuman, and are supposed to be unnerving for enemies unused to such practices. Belief in magic also armours the woad warriors against fear, and makes them savage, dangerous and not-quite-controllable fighters. Woad warriors carry only blades and shields but it is a foolish commander indeed who underestimates their impact in battle!