Conquer, rule and manipulate the Roman Empire with the ultimate goal of being declared as the "Imperator" of Rome. Set in a time when the mighty Roman Empire emerged to conquer the known world against powerful enemies, when gladiators fought to a bloody death in the Coliseum; when Spartacus defied the might of the empire; when Hannibal led his invincible army and his war elephants across the Alps to strike fear into the very heart of Rome itself; and when Julius Caesar finally smashed the Barbarian Gauls. This was a time of brutal confrontation between civilisation and barbarism, and of civil war as the ancient world's only superpower turned on itself.
Far Harad is one of the smallest factions in Dominion of Men, with only 3 settlements at the beginning of the campaign. These towns are arranged in a linear fashion across the south of the map, and are some distance from each other, so you will find it difficult to support, reinforce, and assemble armies. What's worse, geography has conspired to make all of your settlements vulnerable to attack from large and aggressive foes, almost from the very start. No rivers, mountains, or even notable hills help to protect your homelands. Your westernmost town, Adabbara - the one most exposed to attack - doesn't even have walls. So playing Far Harad feels a little like playing Harondor, but without the benefit of a nice starting position.
Like Harondor, Far Harad will find enemies quickly, and fighting these foes will be the major feature of your campaign. The most obvious enemy is the Empire of Harad. This faction's core lands are to the west, around Umbar, but it has sent tendrils eastward, to the north of your starting position. Also to the north is the Chiefdom of Khand. Harad is much the greater foe, and should be your first target, but Khand will be quick to attack as well.
Not all is bleak. Far Harad benefits from a starting alliance with Harondor, another principality that will soon war with the Empire. It may be - perhaps - possible to maintain this alliance throughout the campaign. And Far Harad boasts the largest concentration of incense, a valuable trade good. After some expansion and development, you can become quite wealthy.
But first, you'll have to survive some very difficult times. You've got enough starting funds to commission walls in Adabbara and train a few units, but you cannot play defensively as Far Harad. In order to survive, let alone win, you'll need to go on the attack within the first few turns.
Warriors of the South
The Principality's units are, for the most part, basic Haradrian troops. You've got the ubiquitous spear types (Footmen and Southron Spears, of which only the latter are dependable in melee), swordsmen (armed with javelins, a very dangerous unit), skirmishers and archers, and cavalry (Haradwaith Riders - not to be underestimated at 64 men per unit - and Horsemen of Far Harad), both solid and dependable.
Unique to Far Harad are the fearsome Southron Champions - giant warriors armed with mighty bladed weapons. No Warcry, no armor-piercing capability, but the Champions have a powerful attack and cause fear, making them quite a shock to the typically low-morale foes you will be facing. Their greatest flaw is their lack of armor: they will take heavy losses, especially to enemy archers. Use them as flankers for best results, and keep them back from the front lines where they won't get targeted by missile fire.
Another unique unit is your Southron Skirmishers, whose easy accessibility (at your most basic Military Development building) and low cost belies their massive usefulness. Like the Champions, these large Southrons have a fear effect, which tends to be amplified by the damage caused by their javelins. They can fight in melee as well - and will probably see a lot of melee in the early years - but suffer from a similar lack of armor. Skirmishers are also your best response to Harad's Mumakil.
Eventually, once you conquer into Umbar, you'll be able to train Retainer Spears, a copy of Harad's Spearmen of the Serpent. These troops will give some solidity to your battle-line at a time when you may be facing heavier troops, such as those fielded by the Reunited Kingdom or Rhun.
Far Harad's family members each command a unit of Desert Guard - extremely effective riders, which also cause fear. All of these morale-damaging units should give you a clue as to how to fight as the Principality: fast attacks, piling on the damage quickly, and then pulling back to charge in again. In fact, that's the best way to think of Far Harad's strategy on the campaign map as well. You want to hit enemy settlements before they can be built up, do as much damage as possible, and then withdraw.
My Far Harad armies tend to emphasize missiles and cavalry over pure infantry units. A reasonable early army might look like this:
-4 Redsand Archers
-4 Southron Skirmishers
-4 infantry (usually a mix of Southron Spears, Swords, and Champions)
-3 cavalry (including the general)
That leaves 5 more units, which may be mercenaries (the Swerting Skirmishers in your homelands are similar to your Southron Skirmishers, and well worth hiring; other notables include horse archer mercs in Khandian provinces) or a few extra infantry or archers.
I line up my archers in front, skirmishers behind, with infantry making up the third line and cavalry just behind them. Priority targets for archers include any enemy archers (especially Khand's horse archers), since Far Harad's troops are typically vulnerable to ranged attacks. If defending, I let my archers and skirmishers run back behind my infantry before committing the latter to melee; then send the skirmishers (and Champions) to flank, if possible. Cavalry wraps around the flanks with the aim of charging into the rear.
This formation is less effective against an all-cavalry army (which can just ride down my skirmishers/archers) or against an army with lots of heavy troops, such as the stacks of Swords of Harad that the Empire likes to send. For these situations, you'll want to bring more Swords of your own, and use your spear-armed Horsemen to deliver powerful, repeated charges.
Most AI factions like to conquer independent (rebel) settlements first. Since there are 3 independent towns in the vicinity, you will have a bit of time before Harad and Khand decide to attack you. But you should aim to hit them first - at least Harad.
In this, you will be helped by Harondor, which usually manages to invade south of the Harnen river and take Ur. You'll want to seize the initiative while Harad is still scrambling to defend its lands from its northern neighbor.
I like to aim for Caras Agar first. It's the easternmost settlement owned by Harad, and can be reinforced from your homelands in a few turns. By the time you can take it, Harad is likely to have taken Parchereb, a poor and fairly useless independent settlement just to the north, so expect a counterattack - one involving Mumakil.
From here, you'll want to move quickly west, to Caranbad. This is a Chief City (marked by the blue banner on the campaign map), which is a big deal to you for a couple of reasons: First, it is already significantly developed, boasting stone walls. Second, further developments are not restricted by policy, meaning you can build markets and military buildings to your heart's content without having to choose between the two.
It's at this point that things may get a little... fuzzy. Expanding out to 5 settlements, you'll begin to feel the strain of needing to defend those lands and develop them. If Khand hasn't attacked you by now, they will soon, forcing you to recruit even more troops. Your income will dwindle and, most probably, you will go into actual debt.
Taking a defensive posture at this point will seem like the most reasonable - indeed, the only - option. After all, your armies are much smaller than those of your opponents. With Harad sending large stacks in your direction and Khand encroaching on your homelands, and with no chance of using terrain as choke points, the sensible thing to do would be to hole up in your cities, where at least you can cause maximum casualties when a besieger tries to break through your walls.
But the "sensible" thing to do will get your Principality destroyed.
This is the time for scorched earth.
Most of the time, I hate smash-and-grab missions. If I can take a settlement, I want to hold it. And it seems like such a waste to destroy markets and other useful buildings in a settlement that I may well be able to hold in the not-too-distant future.
As Far Harad, though, you have little choice. The Empire in particular can train its dangerous Swords of Harad at only a second-tier Military Development building, and is much wealthier than you are. You need every mirian of plunder you can get, and you need to deny any resources to the enemy, ensuring that, when he does march back into the settlement you just abandoned, he will have to rebuild the smoking ruins from absolute rubble.
The other advantage of a hit-and-run strategy is that it tends to draw the AI's attention away from your own settlements. Sometimes, an AI army may be besieging an important settlement of yours. You have a field army that may be able to attack the foe and drive them off - but the enemy has other armies approaching. Trying to save your towns and personally fight all of those enemy armies on your own territory simply gives the AI more time to train more troops. All the while, your field army is getting whittled down.
Instead, drive that field army of yours into enemy territory, straight at a nearby enemy town. Usually, this will cause enemy armies in your own lands to turn about and give chase. If you can take the enemy settlement before reinforcements arrive, burn it all down and crank up the taxes to very high, then move off to the next settlement.
Needless to say, this is a risky strategy. You may be taking your best army away from your homelands on a gamble, and sometimes the enemy won't bite. But any plunder you can get will refill your coffers for another muster of troops, and the distraction this causes for your foe is well worth it.
And eventually, you will feel strong enough to hold some of those settlements you sacked.
In terms of expansion routes, heading north and west of your starting position puts you in possession of territory that counts as Fiefdoms for you, allowing you to (eventually) recruit some of your native roster, such as the all-important Redsand Archers and Southron Skirmishers. The Umbar and Khand regions, in contrast, count as Outlands, and have little to offer in terms of recruitment. In Khand, the most basic barracks will allow you to train local horse archers (fast but weak), and in Umbar you'll eventually get the strong Retainer Spearmen. But your primary recruitment center will be your starting settlements, especially your capital.
As you expand, the distance-from-capital penalties will cause increased unrest. This is somewhat difficult to manage, since the South is so spread out. Changing your capital to Caranbad is a good compromise once you begin to acquire (permanent) lands in Khand and Umbar.
Around the mid-game, if you have been aggressive against Khand, you will likely have driven them into the north. You need Acharn for your victory conditions, but completely eliminating the Chiefdom is problematic. Khand can horde, which can be a mixed bag. Maybe they'll head north and cause trouble for someone else. Or maybe they'll descend upon you with righteous fury. Plus, wiping out Khand eliminates the buffer between you and Rhun - perhaps one of the biggest factions on the map at this point. A safer policy is to leave Muldin for the Khandians and garrison the bordering towns with enough archers to see off the occasional foray.
Claiming victory probably means eliminating Harad by default. You need to take most of the Umbar settlements before you can feel safe anyway. But this may take longer than you think, and the area around Umbar City is peppered with small forts that the Empire likes to keep garrisoned with just enough troops to cause you a major headache. Your conquest to the Sea may take several attempts.
And just as you feel as though you're closing in on victory, your long-time ally Harondor may decide to betray you, envious at your riches and tempted by the small garrisons you're forced to keep in your interior settlements. Fighting Harondor is similar to fighting the Empire, but Harondor tends to field fewer Swords (thank goodness). Instead, you'll see a good deal of skirmishers (both on foot and mounted), a Armsmen (well-armed infantry), and likely some Ballistas. A war with Harondor also has the advantage of being fairly contained, provided they haven't expanded too far south of the Harnen. If you've taken any settlements around Umbar, you should have the funds to put together an army to deal with your erstwhile allies. This army should be a bit heavier on Archers than your others, to deal with the many skirmishers the Plainsmen like to field.
Because of its vulnerable starting position and dangerous, aggressive neighbors, Far Harad is in my opinion the most difficult faction to play in Dominion of Men. (Harondor was my previous candidate, but Harondor's 5 starting settlements allow it to build up some early momentum, and its well-defended terrain allows it to concentrate its attack). Far Harad has great potential, but a player will need to use every ruse available in order to claw his way to a secure position - and even then, a sudden reversal of fortune lurks behind every attempted siege or attack. Maybe your army will meet death at the walls of Umbar's massive fortifications. Maybe your raiding force will be cornered and destroyed by an Imperial army at the shores of the Sea. But if you can roll with these shifts and be ruthless, you may see the Principality emerge as the mightiest force in the South.
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Highest Rated (4 agree) 9/10
The game that made the TW saga a classic. For someone that played a lot Shogun TW like me, playing RTW for the first time was absolutely stunning. The vanilla game is superbly done. The battles, the strategy map, visual & sound effects, physics.... you name it. What made this game even greater were it's excellent mods. It's greatest flaw, however, was shared by it's successor, M2TW and it's expansion Kingdoms: The lack of naval battles on the battlemap. Which came only when Empires TW came out…
Dec 6 2010 by X4VI3R