10 essential Total War mods

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Ever since there have been Total War games, there have been Total War modders. As soon as the Creative Assembly release a new Total War game, an army of enthusiasts pounce, retexturing units, overhauling the AI and crafting new campaigns. We've sifted through the hundreds of Total War mods out there and found ten of the best. These mods give us whole new areas of history to explore, fantasy worlds to conquer and challenging new campaigns to play. From Rome through to Napoleon: Total War, we've got you covered.

1. Rome: Europa Barbarorum

Fans of historical accuracy will be delighted with Europa Barbarorum , easily the most well researched of the mods on this list. Five new factions have been added to diversify the barbarian forces, and all of the vanilla factions have been rigorously reworked to bring them closer to what modern scholars know of the era. This is an essential download for history buffs, or for anyone looking to get a more detailed and challenging experience from their copy of Rome: Total War.

2. Rome: SPQR

SPQR is another realism mod that offers a different experience to Europa Barborum's intensely researched overhaul. There are new units and hundreds of balance tweaks to the core game, but the most important changes have been made to the battles. Reduced upkeep costs mean that there are more armies on the campaign map and more troops on the battlefield. Warriors break far less often and some units, like the Spartans will fittingly never flee, preferring death to dishonour. The rewards are greater should you manage to outmanoeuvre the enemy as well, with added damage bonuses for flank attacks. Rome's battles are bigger, brainier and more brutal with SPQR installed.

3. Rome: Roma Surrectum

Roma Surrectum is a great mod for anyone who loves playing as the Romans. It adds four new factions and 35 new Roman legions, supported by a detailed new recruitment system that will only let you train certain warriors in certain regions, adding an extra layer of strategy to army management. The new models and textures give every legion a unique look and the campaign map has been tweaked to accommodate the new forces. Check out the video below for footage of the new Romans in action.

4. Medieval 2: Broken Crescent 2.0

This remarkable mod moves Medieval 2 to the Middle East. It's an extensive and incredibly polished package that introduces 30 new factions and over 250 new units, with expert reskins from the team's dedicated pair of artists. Religion has been overhauled to reflect the tensions in the region at the time, and leaders can now gain specific titles based on their experience and the lands they've captured. On top of all this, the area of recruitment system added by the most recent release adds even more strategic depth to an already excellent campaign.

5. Medieval 2: The Third Age

It was only a matter of time before someone realised that the Total War format would be perfect for a Lord of the Rings conversion. The Third Age is the result, a lovingly crafted mod that brings Middle Earth to Medieval 2. Every race is represented in the twelve new factions, including Orcs, High Elves, Dwarves and the forces of Mordor. The fantastic new skins and models provide a detailed take on Tolkien's fantasy universe, with designs heavily inspired by the films. Even now, the mod's creators are working hard on creating new campaign to bring the story of the Fellowship of the Ring to your copy of Medieval 2. Not convinced? Here's the trailer. It has Oliphants in it!

Tom Senior

Part of the UK team, Tom was with PC Gamer at the very beginning of the website's launch—first as a news writer, and then as online editor until his departure in 2020. His specialties are strategy games, action RPGs, hack ‘n slash games, digital card games… basically anything that he can fit on a hard drive. His final boss form is Deckard Cain.