Settlement Mini Preview
In this mini preview we will share with you the barbarian settlements which Red Devil has been working on.
The problem with the barbarian settlements is that they are the products of compromise. Whereas with the Roman and two Greek culture groups you have, relatively, culturally homogenous societies, this is not the case with the barbarians. Let us consider the current playable barbarian factions in EBII, the Aedui, Auernoi, Boioi, Areuakoi, Pritanoi, Lusotanann, Getai, Sweboz and Lugiones. These factions alone represent a wide variety of Iron Age cultures; La Tène (Aedui, Aruernoi, Boioi), Celtiberian (Areuakoi0, Iron Age British Wessex (Pritanoi), Lusitanian-Vettonic (Lusotanann), Dacian (Getae), Jastorf (Sweboz) and Przeworsk (Lugiones). Even within the La Tène culture there are important differences in the settlement pattern between the Aedui and Aruenoi and the Boioi, such as the way in which the three tribes constructed walls. All of this is to say nothing of the temperate archaeological cultures which are not represented by a playable faction; Venetic, Rhaetic, Pomeranian, Iron Age Irish, Iron Age Nordic, Thracian, Atlantic Iberian, La Tène Scordisci, La Tène Galatian etc. The barbarian settlements in Europa Barbarorum II have thus been designed to incorporate a variety of structures from the various material cultures of the playable factions.
In Europa Barbarorum II there will be four tiers of barbarian settlement: village, hillfort, developed hillfort/early oppida, oppida. It is hoped this arrangement will represent the settlement pattern of the barbarian factions as accurately as can be allowed. Thus, when you are viewing a village or hillfort you will see Gallic rectilinear houses, British roundhouses, German grubenhaus and Nordic longhouses. Unfortunately it was not possible to include Celtiberian stone houses. As only the Celtic and Getai factions developed proto-urban centres, such as the Celtic oppida, only features from the La Tène, Celtiberian and Dacian cultures were incorporated into the upper two tier settlement designs.
The opportunity to construct our own settlements also allowed the team to improve on Europa Barbarorum in a number of ways in addition to historical accuracy. One of these was the defences of barbarian settlements. Many fans of Europa Barbarorum, if asked which type of settlement is the hardest to assault, are unlikely to say “barbarian”. This is due to a variety of things. Firstly, despite supposedly being hillforts, the Rome Total War settlement models were hardly the dreams of hikers. With a gentle incline and wide street plan, it is possible to rest assaulting troops before pushing on for the acropolis. The defences of the RTW barbarian settlements were likewise unimposing; a wooden wall on level ground which could be destroyed by either ram or artillery. In Europa Barbarorum II the defences of barbarian settlements have been designed so as to present a real obstacle. The wooden walls which defend the lower tier settlements are placed at the top of ramparts; assaulting troops will therefore need to really climb in order to reach a breech. At the bottom of the rampart is a ditch. Although passable by both men and siege engines, these ditches will further tire out would be conquerors. In order to reach the capture point a player will also need to lead his/her troops up a hill worthy of the acropolis. And if you thought that was bad you will not be pleased to learn that the walls of the oppida, although lacking ditches, are now guarded by towers and, worst of all (and more importantly, historically accurate) cannot be destroyed by siege equipment. If you want to capture an upper tier barbarian settlement then you will either have to enter via the door, now placed at the end of a deadly corridor, or scale the walls with ladders and towers.
The reason that the walls of the upper tiers are immune to the effects of ram or shot is due to their construction. The wall types which inspired the EBII barbarian walls, Murus Gallicus (used by the Aedui/Aruenoi), Ehrang type (Aedui/Aruernoi), Kelheim type (Boioi), the walls of Numantia (Areuakoi) and the Murus Decius (Getai) type, were all constructed of stone. All of these, with the possible exception of the walls from Numantia, used either horizontal or vertical wooden beams to add additional strength to the wall. In the case of the Murus Gallicus and Ehrang types these wooden beams were assembled in a criss-cross pattern, thus further reinforcing the wall and, as Julius Caesar noted in De Bello Gallico, highly resistant to battering rams. The Murus Gallicus and Kelheim type employed earthen embankments to the rear which added further protection from possible breeches.
So, without further ado, here are the first images of settlements in Europa Barbarorum II.
Tier 1 "Barbarian" settlement
The Tier 1 settlement is intended to represent the varied settlement patterns of the La Tène, Jastorf, Dacian, Przeworsk, Pomeranian, Celtiberian and Iron Age Wessex cultures. As such it contains a variety of structures, including Gallic rectilinear houses, British and Celtiberian roundhouses, Nordic longhouses and Grubenhaus of the Jastorf, Przeworsk and Pomeranian cultures. A line of fortification is not provided as only a few of these settlements, mainly the Celtic examples, were fortified at all, and even then the fortification was so slight that it must have been intended to keep in livestock rather than keep out hostile foes. Within the settlement are four post granaries, a type common in Iron Age temperate Europe.
Tier 2 "Barbarian" settlement
The Tier 2 Settlement is intended to represent the small and medium sized fortified settlements of the Gauls and Getai as well as the hillforts of Iron Age Wessex, Britain. Although not resembling the castros of Iron Age Spain (due to the unique nature of their design), they are intended to fulfil the same function. Features from the Pomeranian, Jastorf and Przeworsk cultures are rare, and will be absent in subsequent tiers, as historically these cultures did not progress beyond the small, unfortified settlements of Tier 1. The defences are primarily inspired by British and Gallic settlements; possessing a palisade and modest ditch. Ideally we would have liked to have had a V shaped ditch, as was the case in reality, but due to the limitations of the Medieval II engine we had to settle on the ditch you see in the screenshots. The gate is based on the example from the oppidum of Heidengraben, Germany, the excavated example from the site of Biskupin, Poland and the reconstruction from the museum at Moulins-sur-Céphons. The entrance also borrows from the British site of Danebury.
Tier 3 "Barbarian" setttlement
Unfortunately the Tier 3 settlement is still under construction and we are unable to show you any images as a result. When completed it is intended to represent the developed hillforts of Iron Age Britain, the British oppida, the early oppida of Gaul, the late Iron Age fortified sites of the Belgae and the contemporary Dacian sites.
Tier 4 "Barbarian" settlement
The Tier 4 settlement is intended to represent the developed Getai strongholds and Gallic and Celtiberian oppida, as such it contains a much large number of buildings than the previous tiers. The settlement (along with Tier 3) has been constructed using a battle map based on the topography of the Gallic site of Alesia. The stream nearby reflects how almost all Gallic and British oppida were constructed near major waterways so as to be able to control trade. The walls, as stated above, are a compromise. They should be taken to represent a variety of construction traditions including the famous Murus Gallicus, its preceding type the Ehrang type, the Kelheim type, the Altkönig-Preist type, the walls from Numantia and the late Murus Decius type. The decision to construct a wall with horizontal timbers, instead of vertical, was based on the rule of majority; more factions in EBII (Aedui, Aruernoi, Getai and possibly Areuakoi) used horizontal timber reinforcements in their walls than used vertical timbers (Boioi). The entrance is based on a variety of continental Celtic examples including La Chaussée-Trincourt, Závist and Manching. The placing of the entrance at the end of a corridor is in keeping with evidence from excavations at a variety of Gallic and British oppida including the capital of the Aedui; Bibracte. The towers, and bastions upon which they are constructed, are based on examples from several Dacian sites as well as a few Celtic sites such as Entremont, Bois de Boubier and Mont Vully as well as the Areuakoi capital Numantia.
We would like to stress that, as with all images in EBII, these are WIPs.
Special thanks go to cmacq, Red Devil, paullus and nazgool for their help in the production of this mini preview.