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The Empires of Sand Culture Pack brings three new playable factions and new religion features to Total War: ATTILA.
Aksum, Himyar and the Tanukhids may be used in Single or Multiplayer Campaign modes and Custom and Multiplayer battles.
Hailing from the harsh deserts of Africa and the Middle East, these factions are part of the new Desert Kingdoms cultural group, and bring new campaign mechanics, new horde gameplay mechanics, events, enhanced religion features, battlefield rosters and unique units to Total War: ATTILA.
All factions in the Desert Kingdoms cultural group benefit from the following traits:
Because of the dramatic impact religious changes had on these cultures in this period, the Empires of Sand Culture Pack includes a number of changes that increase the importance of religion. There are three new religions available: Eastern Christianity, Judaism and Semitic Paganism.
Each non-horde Desert Kingdoms faction has two main religions to choose between. Aksum may follow Eastern Christianity and Semitic Paganism, while Himyar may choose between Judaism and Semitic Paganism.
Religion now has further-reaching effects, influencing many aspects of Desert Kingdoms campaign gameplay. It is deeply intertwined with a number of features including building chains, victory conditions, events, technologies and overall campaign bonuses:
The Tanukhids are a horde faction, representing a desert rebellion with a hyper-aggressive playstyle, plus a host of unique traits and features.
The Tanukhids have travelled a long way from their homelands. Originally part of the Qahtani tribal confederation, they migrated north in the aftermath of a flood which devastated their homeland, eventually leaving Arabia altogether.
Coming into contact with the Roman Empire, the Tanukhids have since been employed as Roman foederati, and considered a dependable cavalry force. However, they recently rebelled against Rome following Emperor Valens' attempts to convert them from Orthodox to Arian Christianity. The Tanukhids - under their warrior queen, Mavia - fought so hard, and so fiercely, that they defeated the Romans in the field on several occasions and forced agreement to their terms.
Despite the odds, these devout people have created a life for themselves as free Arabs, who pledge allegiance to none but God and their brave queen - surely all that is required to attain true greatness!
Located on the coast of Africa, the people of Aksum owe their power to excellent trade routes, a fact reflected in their gameplay and traits.
The Kingdom of Aksum grows prosperous through trade; the Silk Road is kind to those who know
how to harness its riches, and the Aksumites have spent their lives trading along it.
Although its Ethiopian heartlands have been occupied for hundreds of years, Aksum has recently grown in size due to the hugely lucrative trade route to India and beyond, on which it sits. When a nation becomes so rich and powerful, it attracts those who wish to steal its wealth for themselves; the neighbouring Himyarites are one such adversary.
As the 5th century dawns, military and religious lines have once again been drawn in the sand. Aksum enjoys Rome's favour, and the wealth of the world fills its coffers - let those who would challenge that might face Aksumite steel, and feel Aksumite strength!
The Aksumite roster focuses on powerful spears and shock troops. They are lightly armoured but capable of devastating optimal damage. They also have a number of unusual troops, such as hunting dog archers and hybrid axe/bow units.
Himyar is a powerful Arabian kingdom on the peninsula. The Himyarites survive in their arid lands through a series of specialised adaptations to the desert.
The Sabaean Kingdom is diminished and, in its place, Himyar ascends! The victorious Shamir Yuhar'ish has declared himself "King of Saba, Dhu Raydan and of Hadramawt and Yamanat" at his coronation, and no one dares challenge this proclamation.
Sabaean local power was based, in large part, on overland trade routes, but Himyar has discovered and exploited new sea trade routes to India, making it the principle economic power in southern Arabia. Much like neighbouring Aksum, Himyar controls the flow of trade along major trade routes to the east.
The militaristic Himyarites relentlessly pursue their aims, particularly when facing the hated Aksumites. Himyar has even recently converted to Judaism, seemingly only to fuel the constant war that rages between them. It has sacrificed much to hold onto a powerful position during a tumultuous time, and will surely seize the future by force of will alone!
Hardy and weathered, Himyar forces are drilled to feats of great stamina. Their roster is built around a series of tanking defensive units to represent their desert hardiness.
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