African and Arabic factions heading to Total War: ROME II

African and Arabic factions heading to Total War: ROME II

By  Sam Jones - 7th Mar 2018

What to expect from the Desert Kingdoms Culture Pack DLC

African and Arabic factions heading to Total War: ROME II

The latest DLC content for the popular strategy game Total War: ROME II arrives tomorrow, offering gamers the chance to take control of new kingdoms from as far as Africa and Arabia.

As with many of SEGA and Creative Assembly's games from the Total War Steam series, ROME II is the latest to receive additional content, adding yet more hours of addictive strategic gameplay and the opportunity to take the reins of new leaders in your bid for domination.

Here, we take a look at the new factions, including their traits, key features and handy information for gamers to know prior to playing. Don't forget to pre-order your Desert Kingdoms Culture Pack DLC Steam key now to save 20% off. The pre-order offer ends at 3pm GMT (7am PST) on March 8th 2018.

New factions

The new factions arriving in the DLC pack are native to the deserts of Africa and Arabia, which means that their ability to survive harsh environmental conditions has made their armies strong - capable of using the shifting desert sands to their advantage in battle. The Kingdoms of Kush, Saba and Nabatea fall under the African/Arabian subculture, while the Masaesyli are of Numidian origin.

As well as their individual Faction Traits, the Desert Kingdoms all share two Cultural Traits - Desert Warriors, which adds a bonus to morale in desert battles and bonus income from agriculture - and Deep-rooted Traditions (penalty to research rate).

Meroe (The Kingdom of Kush)

Despite its vast resources from its trade in gold, jewels and exotic hides, Kush has been overshadowed by its more powerful and famous northern neighbor, Egypt. In the early 3rd century BC, king Ergamenes decided to wrest power away from the priests of Amun, and moved the capital from Napata to Meroe meaning that the priests would no longer decide the fate of the kings and queens.

A regional powerhouse with a surfeit of natural treasures and fertile land, Kush is well equipped to prosper and once again vie for power against the mightiest empires in the world.

Key Features:

- Affinity for Egyptian/Hellenistic culture

- Higher probability of female characters in politics

- Trading kingdom (ivory, exotic hides, iron, gold)

- Fine pottery

Faction Traits:

- Disciplined Workforce: Bonus income from slaves, reduction in slave decline, Reduced Public Order penalty from slaves.

- The Land of the Bow: cheaper, better archer units.



Hailed as great builders and pioneers of advanced construction techniques, the Nabataeans were the first civilization to use cement extensively, and built remarkable watertight reservoirs, ensuring that they had a large supply of potable water. Even when under threat from powerful foes like the Seleucids and Judeans, their progressive society enabled them to flourish and prosper.

The Nabataeans were also very literate and, for an ancient civilization, had a remarkable degree of gender equality. Women would often participate in both political and religious matters.

Nabatae was an important crossroad for the spice trade, serving as a conduit between the southern kingdoms that produced frankincense and myrrh, and the wealthy eastern and western empires who were its primary buyers. Preserving all this wealth at such a geographically strategic location meant that their armies needed to be well-trained. with a strong naval force.

Key Features:

- Hellenic influence: may recruit Hellenic-themed units for battle

- Silk road traders: Bonus to trade and diplomacy

- Skilled masons: bonuses to construction and fortification

- Friends of Rome: diplomatic bonus with Roman factions/allies

- Roman tactics: some native units may use Roman army formations/abilities

Faction Traits:

- Stonecutters: Faster, cheaper construction of main settlement-chain buildings

- Incense Traders: Bonus income from incense trade



Situated in the harsh lands of the southern Arabian Peninsula, the Sabaean kingdom and its people thrived despite such inhospitable conditions. They were known for building dams dams, inventing new irrigation techniques and becoming masters of water-efficiency. The Sabaeans were also excellent sailors, and had strong trade relations with peoples across the Red Sea.

Not warlike by nature, the Sabaeans charged mercenaries with the protection of their trade routes and caravans. That said, they were a resilient people of tough character, who made formidable foes for anyone who dared threaten their great capital city of Marib. Even the Romans could not best them during their expedition in the early 1st century.

Key Features:

- Camels as predominant cavalry, with superior armored camels

- Excellent use of javelins and chariots

- Agricultural and fertility bonuses from the famous Marib Dam

- Incense production provides diplomatic and trade bonuses

- Great Dam of Ma’rib: A unique building type which provides faction wide bonuses to agriculture and fertility and can be upgraded with technologies, but requires upkeep to maintain.

Faction Traits:

- Incense Traders: Bonus income from tariffs

- Hired Armies: Access to cheaper, stronger mercenary units



Prior to Numidia’s founding after the 2nd Punic war, its people were divided into two Berber tribes: the Massyli and the Masaesyli. Both sides were skilled warriors and there were many rivalries between the two. The Massyli had strong relations with Carthage, a key factor behind the Massaesyli aligning with Rome when the opportunity came.

Through many twists and turns, both tribes ultimately unified into the Kingdom of Numidia, under the Massylian king Massinissa. He ruled for an astonishing 54 years, transforming his kingdom into a prospering North African power.

Key Features:

- Affinity to Cartage and Latin culture

- Extensive Roman influence in battle

- Cavalry-focused faction

Faction Traits:

- Desert Ambushers: enemy armies in the same province as a Numidian army cannot replenish

Female Leaders


The Desert Kingdoms DLC will also see Cleopatra and Teuta as fully playable faction leaders and generals, along with custom visuals and voice-over. Important female characters have been added to all campaigns and across all factions.

In some cultures, Rome and Greek for example, women can only serve a social/political role while in other women can be generals and fight alongside men. For cultures where women can’t hold public offices, there is a special 'Cursus Honorum' path that follows the increase in behind-the-stage political influence of women.

There are also special events (dilemmas) that portray the trials and tribulations associated with women coming to power in ancient times, with traditions and prejudicial matters standing in the way. Such events allow the player to recruit a female leader or gain some other bonuses from parties that would oppose such a decision.

Faction leaders of opposite gender can now marry as a diplomatic action, significantly strengthening the relations between the two factions. The basic marriage action now has political implications.

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