What’s Gus Playing – The Shortest Rome 2 Total War Campaign – Nabatea

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The Dwarf of the Desert delivers dangerous deeds and derring-do  ~

Lloyd Sabin, 11 June 2018

Sometimes you got it, sometimes you just don’t.

I chose to play as Nabatea because the idea of armored camel cataphracts charging through the desert really tickled my pickle

The Total War series is one of my favorites and has been since Shogun was released all those years ago. Fast forward to 2018 and I could not wait to play a faction from the Rome 2 Emperor’s Edition DLC – the Desert Kingdoms. There are four to choose from, including the Kush and Nabatea (think modern Horn of Africa and Saudi Arabia).

In doing some basic research on each, I chose to play as Nabatea because the idea of armored camel cataphracts charging through the desert really tickled my pickle. The campaign was rated as ‘Hard’ however, and even though that typically scares me off, I took my chances. Taking the plunge, I charged in to Nabatea circa 272 BC, and was psyched to get my first camel cataphract unit. It would be glorious.

Or it would be one of the more ignominious defeats in my TW history. I have had some lightning fast victories, mind you…I won as the Egyptians in the Medieval 2 TW Crusades campaign in under 25 turns! But this Nabatea playthrough was going to be the opposite of that.

All that said, I feel compelled to tell you that Rome 2, some 17 patches and many years after release, plays, runs and looks fantastic now. It really is a totally new game from the earlier versions. If you were frightened away by the nightmarish launch, it is worth it’s price now and goes on sale every so often.

Beware though that ‘hard’ means what it says here…there’s no messing around. So, let my ignominy be a lesson for you.

‘I am Nabatea.’ And I can’t wait for my first unit of shiny camel cataphracts. It’s going to be great.


My capital, Petra. A giant fortress city in the middle of the desert. Perfect for turtling.


Meeting new factions, making money…things are going swimmingly. Note too the new message screens, the updated images, the spruced up colors, etc.


Humble Nabatea even has a navy, which I used to begin scouting the map to find more factions to trade with. Trade was key for my faction and was going well because of Nabatea’s strategic map placement, with numerous trade routes criss-crossing it. Maybe this campaign would not be so hard after all.


Hmm…The Eagles of Zeus…a Seleucid army. They don’t appear friendly.


Definitely not friendly! The two regional powers, Ptolemaic Egypt and the Seleucid Empire, get in to a row. Hopefully they will exhaust each other and I can come in a snatch some prime leftover tidbits, in true defensive turtle style.


Quietly preparing for war without directly threatening anyone. Fingers crossed.


Bastards! The Seleucids and their well armed satrapies declare war on me. Hoping that I can get some help from the Egyptians.


In the meantime, management of my territory goes on. Lots of new events to manage that were not in earlier versions of Rome 2 TW.


The war against the Seleucids does not appear to be going well for Egypt. I am not happy about this.


Eek. Without Egyptian protection, the world is an unsafe place.


Other oddball events have also been added to the campaign.


I still have to worry about running my own domestic government, while dealing with forces of nature, economics, and external policy. Ok so perhaps ‘hard’ was not a misnomer for this campaign after all.


Trying to do what I can to stem the Seleucid tide.


I even capture Jerusalem! Things are looking up. If I can coalesce the regions I possess in to a well oiled defensive machine, maybe Nabatea can thrive.


…or perhaps not. Lost Petra, my proud desert fortress city, to Seleucid armies. Trade is also collapsing and money is beginning to dry up. I officially declare this Nabatea campaign to be truly ‘hard.’


Ov vey. My faction leader is killed trying to hold on to Jerusalem, our final settlement, against the Seleucid onslaught. Jerusalem is overrun and burned.



And that’s all she wrote. 30 turns and Nabatea is but a memory.


Note too that I didn’t even get a chance to play out any of the battles tactically! This was a quick and painful campaign, but interesting enough that I have decided to start a new one as the Kush (part of today’s Ethiopia). It’s rated as ‘normal’ so I am hoping for better success.

I will, of course, post my progress in the Kush campaign here…whether it is embarrassing or not.

Thanks for reading!

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