The Britons are very similar to the Gauls - they come from the same robust Celtic stock after all, and many tribes can be found in Northern Gaul and in Britannia. The sea is no barrier. The Britons have their own sophisticated culture, trade and kingship flourish, and they have well-organised towns, a small but growing merchant class and age-old trading links to the world. The Phoenicians, for example, came to these islands for tin and lead.
They also have a proud tradition as warriors. Britons are fierce fighters, and present a terrifying appearance to their foes. They dye themselves blue with woad, think nothing of danger, and often lime their hair into fantastical spikes, making them appear truly horrific. Perhaps a later Roman description of Britons as ‘Brittunculi’, wretched little Britons, is only partly contemptuous: it might equally be intended to make them less terrible. For the Britons can be terrible: their spirits are rarely broken by defeat or enslavement. They plot revenge, and then take it as brutally as possible. Their druidic religion can be savage to outsiders, demanding human sacrifice as a matter of course. Their traditional method of warfare involving fighting from light, highly manoeuvrable chariots can also put fear into many enemies. The noise alone is enough to scare many into flight.
All in all, from their island home the Britons have much to feel confident about. They are a vibrant people, with a tradition of bravery in warfare and Gods who will aid and protect them. Protected by the moat of the sea from invasion, they can gaze out towards the mainland, and plan their conquests...
Britannia are a playable faction in Rome Total War As their name suggests, they occupy the entirety of Britain and have a settlement in Belgium. Due to their position, they are much less likely to be wiped out by other factions.
They have the typical infantry of barbarian armies, with two units unique to britannia. These are Woad Warriors, powerful close quarter infantry with no armour worn, and Head Hurlers, loathsome missile troops who demoralize and damage the enemy with severed heads coated with quicklime.
Another unique aspect of Britannia is that they cannot recruit normal cavalry units. They can train war hounds, and with the appropriate blacksmith upgrades, chariots, but they cannot train light or heavy cavalry. To compensate for this, they have the option of using mercenary barbarian cavalry in custom matches.
Peasants are reluctant warriors, but barbarian peasants are better fighters than most: hard lives produce hard men. Numbers are useful in all armies, and forcing peasants to fight is one way of getting lots of men in the field quickly and cheaply. They have little tactical sense, and even less willingness to fight - they would rather be defending their own homes than be dragged to a battle they neither care about nor understand. They are, however, experts at reading the land and hiding when there is cover.
A sling is a deceptively simple weapon: a slinger can bring down the strongest man with a single shot. These slingers can send a hail of bullets towards the enemy, and target their shots for maximum damage. After all, they will have been hunting with slings since boyhood. Slingers should not be allowed to get into melee combat, as their lack of armour and their relative lack of equipment - just a knife or short sword and a shield - will soon lead to them being cut to pieces. Used to kill enemies from a distance, they are superb missile warriors.
In battle, head hurlers throw the heads of fallen foes coated with quicklime. These missiles are both dangerous and loathsome. Head hurlers combine the practical and the macabre in equal measure - they collect the heads of fallen enemies and preserve these by dipping them in quicklime. The limed heads are used as disgusting missiles in battle, flung into enemy ranks at surprisingly long range. As missiles the heads are heavy enough to cause injuries (and have an undoubted impact on morale) but it is the lime that really does the damage, causing nasty burns. Head Hurlers also carry swords for use in close combat should this be necessary.
Head hurlers, however, also show little regard for their own danger and are not above rushing into combat without orders.
Warbands are bound to the service of a strongman or petty village head. They are the basic 'unit' to be found in many barbarian armies. They fight well, as glory and loot are the road to status, but are often difficult to control. They care little for discipline and less for restraint, but they can be relied on to fight, and fight hard. In warfare it is up to each man to prove his own bravery and worth, so the savage charge into the enemy is about as sophisticated as they ever want to be!
Each man carries a stabbing spear and a large shield.
Swordsmen are steadfast and aggressive warriors, the 'infantry of the line' for barbarian warlords. They are not very disciplined at times, as their sense of honour and bravery can make them eager to get into any fray, but they are uniformly superb swordsmen. They are equipped with good swords and large shields.
Every warlord worth the name makes sure he has a couple of warbands of these hard men under his command.
Chosen swordsmen are the best fighting individuals in their tribe, and armed with the finest swords available.
While superbly skilled and extremely tough, they are not naturally inclined to fight as a group. Personal glory and the need to be first amongst the enemy ensure that they are headstrong and ill-disciplined. They are, however, very well equipped with the finest swords that the smiths can make, along with chainmail armour and large shields. They are an intimidating sight for any enemy.
Religion and magic are powerful reasons for bravery.
Woad warriors are brave fighters - and mad. They disdain armour and most clothing, preferring to paint themselves with intricate and stylised magical designs in woad (a blue dye) to deflect enemy blows and missiles. The patterns created can be elaborate and almost inhuman, and are supposed to be unnerving for enemies unused to such practices. Belief in magic also armours the woad warriors against fear, and makes them savage, dangerous and not-quite-controllable fighters. Woad warriors carry only blades and shields but it is a foolish commander indeed who underestimates their impact in battle!
Druids are spiritual leaders with practical fighting skills who instill confidence in nearby friendly warriors. They have a religious zeal that gives them great courage and their mere presence fills nearby believers with confidence. Positioned just behind the battle line druids can also form a powerful reserve, ready to join the fray at a crucial moment.
Equipped with sickle-shaped swords and small shields, the mail-clad druids are excellent fighters. Their good war gear is a reflection of their status as teachers, judges, soothsayers and the focal point of religion and magic among their people. As Celtic cultures lack a written form, they are also the memory of the tribe as well, remembering all the important facts of tribal history.
Historically, the Romans despised and then targeted these men because they practiced particularly savage forms of human sacrifice and because of their cultural importance. When a tribe's history was wiped out, it became a little easier to bend the people to the will of Rome.
Warhounds are bred for a savage nature and great size, but then hunting men is only a little more dangerous than hunting wild boar! The beasts are muscular and powerful. Originally bred for hunting large prey, they are now trained to hunt and attack men. Warhounds are usually unleashed on an enemy to break a line and unnerve opponents. Few men are able to stand steadily in the face of a snarling and partially-starved beast. The dogs are trained to bite and hold on, dragging down their human targets, and hamstringing horses.
Their handlers are brave, foolhardy and not easily intimidated: many have fingers, hands or even chunks of limbs missing!
Light chariots are very fast, very noisy and, when used in large numbers, quite intimidating. They combine the swiftness of cavalry with the 'staying power' of infantry. The drivers concentrate on controlling the chariots, while their passengers fire arrow after arrow into the target. They can also simply charge into an enemy, perform the same scouting duties as cavalry, harass enemies with missiles and may even be worth sacrificing to break a previously unyielding enemy line. They can also be very effective in pursuing fleeing foes.
Heavy chariots are an elite in British armies ridden into battle by tribal nobles. They are shock troops, relying on speed and shock to break enemy formations.
Every man carries a fine sword, and is equipped with a good mail coat and a shield, while his chariot is pulled by two horses.
They perform the same function as heavy cavalry, charging home to cause casualties before wheeling away to launch a fresh attack. Any infantry foolish enough to stand in the way are ridden down, hacked to pieces by the rider! However, like many barbarians they can sometimes let greed for personal honour and glory lead them into attacking without orders.
When starting a campaign as the Britons, it is a wise idea to take control of hibernia (ireland) within the first few turns, as it will be poorly defended and is an extra source of income. Then follow this with a couple of turns of building economic and religous structures, you'll need the money soon enough. Once you've aquired a substantial treasury, begin training warbands and, if you have the required buildings, swordsmen and light chariots. Now you have a choice, who to invade first! You can either land in northen france with your new armies and take Condate Redonum, or land near saxony and take Batavordum and/or Trier. If you believe yourself a good enough commander, you could take Germania and Gaul on at the same time, though this is inadvisible if you're new to the game. From these humble beginnings you can forge a mighty empire!
As a faction, Britannia is somewhat infamous in Rome: Total War's gamer community for being slightly exaggerated in the Imperial Campaign, much like Egypt. For example, if the player were to command a pre-reformist Roman Army of 800 men against a British Army of only 400 troops with a few chariots, an autoresolved defeat is nearly guaranteed. This usually allows chariot-rich factions like Egypt and Britannia to dominate the known world for the remainder of the campaign, making life miserable for nations such as Gaul, Germania, and the Seleucid Empire. To fix this oddity, most players choose to engage British chariot units on an open battle map.