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Balkan Tribes (TWR2 Culture)

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Balkan Tribes (TWR2 Culture)
Name: Balkan Tribes
From Game: Total War: Rome II
Cultural Group: Barbarians
Playable Factions: Yes


Culture Traits

  • Promise of Loot: -50% mercenary recruitment costs
  • Rapid Campaigns: +50% mercenary upkeep costs



  • Expert Seafarers: +2 recruitment slots in all ports
  • Pirates: +250% income from raiding


  • Fierce Independence: +20% melee attack during battles in own or allied territory
  • Our Gods: public order bonus (maximum of +8) from presence of Balkan culture

Odrysian Kingdom

  • Deadly Aim: +2 experience rank(s) for missile recruits
  • Looters: +100% income from raiding and sacking


  • Live by the Sword: +2 experience for infantry recruits
  • Plunderers: +150% income from sacking

In game:

  • Cultural traits allow you to recruit mercenaries cheaply, but at the cost of higher upkeep.
  • Starts in the Balkans neighbouring Greece, which is amongst the most densely populated areas on the campaign map with no less than 8 major (playable) factions between Dacia in the north and Sparta in the south. Because of this early turns will likely see you in conflict with one or more of these major factions. Multiple neighbouring Balkan tribes do allow for early confederations if they can be persuaded to join you, but may also lead you into further conflict with their neighbours.
  • The Balkan Tribes rosters are generally felt to be amongst the least developed in the game, with a limited and sometimes very limited variety of units in all areas. This can however also be seen as a fun challenge, as the player is forced to play creatively and make the most of the units they have available. Additionally Balkan factions can have access to some unusual weapons, such as the Getae falxmen (a sythe like two handed blade,) Illyrian hoplites & marines (Ardiaei warriors armed in the Greek style,) and the rhomphaia armed Thracian Warriors (a kind of early polearm, available to Tylis and the Odryssian Kingdom.)
  • Though a tactic available to any faction, the cheap recruitment (but high upkeep) of mercenaries recruited by the Balkan tribes lends themselves to the “pop up” army. By maintaining partial armies of normal units, a player can keep their overall upkeep costs down during peace time, allowing them to build up a war chest. These armies can then be quickly ramped up to full strength with mercenaries when required to achieve specific goals (such as taking a settlement or destroying an enemy army.) Once the goal is achieved the mercenaries are disbanded, to avoid paying the expensive upkeep costs (which also makes such units expendable.) This tactic can also be used defensively by keeping your total armies below the army cap and a general in reserve, allowing you to recruit that army at any of your settlements and quickly turn a weak garrison into a reinforce mercenary stronghold.

In history:

  • The pirates & raiders of the Balkans.
  • The Balkans is an area that has been fought over from ancient times right through to the modern day. Positioned at the crossroads between Europe and Asia, and its peoples are as diverse as you might expect. At the time of Rome 2 the main cultures are the Dacians, Thracians and Illyrians.
  • Though many of the Balkan tribes were ultimately conquered or assimilated by Rome, they left a lasting impact on the Romans themselves in the form of innovations to armour. So effective were the Dacian falx that later Roman helmets incorporated a reinforced brow ridge to stop a blow that could otherwise “cut a man in two from the top of his head to his breastbone.”
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