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Vandals (RTW:BI Faction)

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Vandals (RTW:BI Faction)
The Vandals' faction symbol
Name: Vandals
From Game: Barbarian Invasion
Culture: Nomad

The Vandals are one of the playable factions in the Barbarian Invasion for Rome: Total War. They are in the Nomad culture group.

Game Play

Starting Position

The Vandals start the game as a horde army and do not occupy any settlements.

Win Conditions

The Vandals must own 10 provinces including Baetica (Corduba), Africa (Carthage), and Northern Italy (Rome).


Infantry Units

Ranged Units

Cavalry Units

Strategy guides

The Vandals start the game with at least five horde armies, each of which have 5 to 7 units of horse archers. These units are your keys to victory. The spear and chosen warrior units are OK, but are most effective when held back until after the archers have cut down most of the enemy's cavalry. Even then, they should not be thrown into melee with the enemy infantry when they are set and waiting for your charge. With their higher unit values on defense, you will lose a lot of men you don't really have to waste. Use your archers and other cavalry units to flank the infantry once you have killed off their supporting cavalry. Their morale will plummet and your infantry charge will be more effective and less expensive in men lost.

When assaulting cities, you may feel pressured to attack as soon as your siege engines are ready, but the more turns you wait, the more losses the defenders suffer from hunger and fatigue. It is never good for you to assault a city with more than one army at a time. When a second army attacks the city under AI control, its units will usually circumnavigate so close to the city wall that it will suffer significant losses due to fire from the city towers. Losses are especially severe when there is a stone wall with towers. If the garrison is small and weak, the quick attack will not be too costly; if the garrison is strong, the best tactic may be to wait them out until they sally forth. Your forces then have the benefit of using their extra defensive values and you can let the enemy tire themselves out on your battle line. Once the garrison has spent itself charging your lines and have fled back inside, you can send a siege tower against the wall and seize the gate. This will avoid the losses you suffer by charging through a hostile gate when your forces get a bath of hot oil. You can avoid losing a general that way.

While you're besieging a city, you may notice the Huns sniffing around your flank. While it would be prudent to keep another army around to face them off, they will rarely attack another horde army (especially if you have several units of horse archers intact). Instead, they will usually go off to attack someplace else. As long as you keep yourself positioned ahead of the Huns and Sarmatians, you will continue to enjoy the largest profits from sacking cities first. This will pay big dividends as you build huge cash reserves on your way through southern Europe and Italy to Spain and North Africa.



The Vandals were an East Germanic tribe possibly descendants of migrants from Scandinavia. They were said to have crossed over to the mainland (modern-day Poland) from Scandinavia around 100 AD and from there migrated southeasterly to modern-day Hungary. Then they're said to have gone west, into what was then the Roman Empire. They passed through France as the Romans legions were retreating and went southwards through Spain and all the way to northwest Africa. They passed through the tip of Africa (supposedly through Algeria and Tunisia, to the Romano-African main centre, Carthage which would one day become Tunis. From Carthage, they attacked many Roman-controlled Mediterranean locations, even taking part in the Sack of Rome along with several other tribes. Comparatively, they were not as destructive and violent in wars as some other tribes people, especially in their part in the Fall of Rome, but despite this they were given their name later by Europeans who were remorseful that Rome had fallen.

In the second century AD the Vandals were supposedly split into two major tribes, the Silingi and the Hasdingi. Because the Vandals migrated into areas that were become more inhabited by other barbarians, they frequently had conflicts from all sides. Because the Romans wished for peace and feared the migrating barbarians, they were given lands and pensions to live so long as they leaved the Empire alone. During the 400s, the Vandals moved together into Roman territory, most likely because of the warlike Huns. Somewhere in this time, many of them became Arian-Christians. Early in the 400s, the Vandals began moving west into Frankish territory, where they met heavy resistance and sustained heavy losses (reportedly somewhere around 20,000). When they allied with the Alans (who originated in the eastern edge of Europe) and defeated the Franks. They passed through France, plundering as they went. As Rome was desperate and rapidly shrinking, they were given lands by the Empire. The Visigoths (West Goths) had a plan to invade, however, and they fought the Alans in Spain, winning and killing their king. The last Alans in Spain went to the Vandals for protection, and thereafter the Vandal kings called themselves "King of the Vandals and the Alans." In Spain, some Vandals settled, eventually mixing with the Visigoths as they Visigoths ended up conquering the Iberian Peninsula. The Vandals continued into Africa, mostly around Carthage (modern Tunis in Tunisia), and became seamen and pirates, benefiting handsomely from controlling much of the Mediterranean. This was also one of Rome's richest provinces, as in Africa they grew many exotic amenities as well as grains and mined gold and stones. Rome was more or less ruled by generals at the time, the most prominent being Flavius Aëtius who was seeking to rule in place of the young Emperor (who was 8) and his mother. He tried to oust his rival, General Bonifacius by telling the Emperor and the Queen Mother lies about him. Fearing he was ruined, General Bonifacius asked for help from the Vandals in Carthage. However, when the truth of the deceitful General Flavius Aëtius was exposed and Bonifacius received amnesty, the Vandals were already ready to invade Rome.

The then-King of the Vandal-Alans, King Geiseric, collected reportedly 80,000 men and crossed into Spain, to Roman territory. From the sea during raids and campaigns, Sicily, Corsica, the Balearic Islands, and Sardinia were conquered. After the ferocious Emperor of the Huns, Attila, died, the Romans were finally able to focus on other invaders. Because Africa was such a profitable area, they looked to the Vandals. Seeing that the Vandals were too strong to be destroyed outwardly and the Emperor too weak, diplomacy was used. The reigning Emperor's daughter's hand was offered to the son of Geiseric. Seeking power for himself, a Roman aristocrat Flavius Petronius Maximus probably had the Emperor killed. He then was "chosen" to be rule. Maximus had little intention with treating with the Vandals. The Vandals came to Rome and sacked it ceaselessly, although they apparently did not do some of the worse acts attributed to capturing a city, because of the Pope Leo I's pleas. The Vandals left with a substantial amount of loot and the royal family (all of them women). As for Petronius Maximus- as news of the incoming Vandals came to the city, many people fled, him being one of them. Outside of the city he was torn apart by an angry mob because he had been terribly unpopular in his 71-day rule.

Following this, the Vandals encountered the navy of the Eastern Roman Empire (which had survived the barbarians and would for a time). He tried to invade the Peloponnese Peninsula but failed with large losses for the Vandals. In revenge, Geiseric had 500 or so hostages cut to pieces and thrown overboard as the navy sailed back to Carthage. In 476, the Vandals and the Eastern Romans obtained a peace and remained on good terms with each other (although they never truly allied). Geiseric died in 477 at the ancient age of 88.

The end of Vandals came quite quickly. They had a problem dealing with their new "empire" as they ruled Catholics who thought Arians, though Christian, were heretics. Fights inside the royal family led to the Vandal's weakness, as well as defeats by the Moors. While the Vandal navy was fighting rebels in Sardinia, the Eastern Roman Empire took a chance. Justinian the I sent the great general Belisarius with an army to Vandal territory in Tunisia. In 533, the Vandals and the Eastern Romans fought close to Carthage. The Vandals fought bravely until the King's brother and nephew were killed. The Vandal King, Gelimer, feared the worst and fled the battlefield. The Eastern Romans were then able to quickly take the undefended capital city. Later, the Vandals and Eastern Romans battled again, not far from Carthage on another site, and again the Vandals fought well until another brother of Gelimer died. Belisarius captured the second city of the Vandals, Hippo, which assured the end of the Vandals. The King Gelimer surrendered and the Vandal men were either enslaved or fled the land and the Vandal women became the wives of the Eastern Roman soldiers. The deposed king, however, fared very well, as he received large estates and pensions and even his difference in religion was tolerated.

See Also

Barbarian Invasion Factions
Eastern Roman Empire | Western Roman Empire | Huns | Goths | Sarmatians | Vandals | Franks | Saxons | Alemanni | Sassanids | Celts | Burgundii | Lombardi | Roxolani | Berbers | Slavs | Romano British | Ostrogoths | Eastern Roman Rebels | Western Roman Rebels | Rebels
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