Fall of Rome Vandals Strategy (Deity)

The Sack of Rome, Karl Briullov, 1833–1836
Genseric sacking Rome 455 AD

This first detailed guide describes how to beat the scenario Fall of Rome as Vandals. Years ago, when I started this blog, I had played the Fall of Rome scenario, but was unable to beat it on Deity difficulty with any of the Western civilizations (Celts, Franks, Vandals, Goths, West-Rome). After finishing all other scenarios I revisited this one and succeeded where in 2013 (!) I had failed. So here we go:

Fall of Rome – Vandals historical role

The timing of this scenario was a period of incredible change over relatively short periods of time: The Vandals after all were crossing most of Europe from the Danube river, north of the Limes, across the Rhine (battling the Franks) through present day France and Spain, north Africa all the way to Carthage. All of this in 30 years!

Fall of Rome Vandals scenario correction: In the scenario you’ll start near Gibraltar with cities like Caput Vada, Tricameron and Thagaste — all those places are found in present day Tunisia, so near Carthage.

Unlike in the scenario, where you’re in eternal war with both Romes and all other “Barbarians”, the history of the Vandals is much deeper than that. Through a series of treaties and broken treaties the Vandals established their Vandal Kingdom along the coast of North Africa, the Balearic Islands, Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily and Malta. All of the maritime possessions of the West-Roman empire were in the hands of the Vandals.

Spoiler alert: Vandal history ended with the Vandalic_War, one of Justinian I’s (of Eastern-Rome) attempts to reconquer the lost Western Roman Empire.

Vandals Deity – Build Order

Please also see the Fall of Rome Map for navigating and planning your conquest.

First I thought maybe the monuments can be saved. But then: During the build up phase, there will be a long phase where you can’t capture many cities. Not stagnating on culture during that phase is important. So get those Monuments early. Here’s the detailed build order that brought me this epic game:

Caput VadaTricameronThagasteTimeline
StableMonumentMonumentraze Gades
MonumentWork BoatGranary
GranaryTrihemiolia 3
WorkerCatapult 1
Trihemiolia 4Granary~18, sail for Rusadir
Trihemiolia 5Colosseum
Trihemiolia 6Trihemiolia 7
Trihemiolia 8ColosseumAxeman
Trihemiolia 9
Trihemiolia 10Worker
Barracks~29, sail for Iol Caesarea
AxemanHarborCircus Maximus
Trihemiolia 11Trihemiolia 12
Heroic EpicTrihemiolia 13Catapult 2
Units Units Units

Roman counter-attack vs Vandals

After those initial successes, a massive East-Roman army sailed in my direction. All my offensive ambitions were suffocated in masses and masses of units the East-Romans were throwing at me. Not to forget that West-Rome was also still strong and pumped out Triremes to send them in my direction.

Mainly the East-Roman counter-attacked had stalled me for a very long time. Of course I snatched some Dromons, but it came at the costs of an incredible delay in time. Only with the Destiny’s Army Social Policy (+50% combat bonus for units with a friendly unit on an adjacent tile) I was able to gain the upper hand and drive them back.

Vandal Social Policies

  1. Willing Recruits (turn 14)
  2. Wily Veterans (turn 30)
  3. Destiny’s Army (turn 47)

Check out this timeline: Since my conquest was stalled for so long, I only had a score of 2.400 until turn 47! Within the last 23 turns I made another 12.000 Victory Points.

Timeline of ConquestTotal VP
05 – 200 VP Gades (3)
22 – 600 VP Rusadir (6)
33 – 800 VP Iol Caesarea (9)
47 – 800 VP Carthago Nova (9, starved from 10)
52 – 1000 VP Tarraco (10)
53 – 0 VP Massilia taken from Celts one turn too late
59 – 1000 VP Olisipo (10)
59 – 1400 VP Carthage (14)
61 – 1400 VP Caesaraugusta (14)
61 – 200 VP Genua (4), liberated from Celts (2), recaptured
65 – 1200 VP Emerita Augusta (12)
66 – 1200 VP Neapoli (13)
67 – 1800 VP Rome (19)
67 – 200 VP Neapoli (3)
68 – 1000 VP Brigantium (10)
69 – 1600 VP Syracuse (17)


Vandals Mare Nostrum & Hispania

Main point regarding the Vandal Hispania-campaign

West-Rome will always put exactly 1 unit on the coastline of Portugal. This way you’ll be slowed down tremendously on your way north towards Brigantium. Think of that when gathering your units and sailing for Olisipo – I started only in the mid 50s which was (on time, but) so close that I worried I’d fail to get Brigantium.

Main point regarding naval warfare and the Vandal Mare Nostrum campaign

Whenever possible: Move captured Triremes between your veteran Trihemiolias and the enemy. Don’t heal all your Triremes! Some of them I even sent against Roman vessels on Kamikaze missions: When they were red or yellow and would die in an attack — excellent: More space on the battlefield to attack the enemy again with a stronger unit.

Vandal production power houses & unit losses

Over the course of the game, I amassed an army of 82 Units, most of it built, with the exception of some late catapults bought in Tarraco and the 13 Triremes which had been captured:

  • 14 Axemen
  • 7 Catapults
  • 14 Dromon
  • 13 Trireme
  • 4 Great Admirals
  • 1 Great General
  • 4 Worker
  • 25 Trihemiolia

As a benchmark: In the mid 50s both Caput Vada (28.5 Prod) and Tricameron (22.5 Prod) were pumping out Trihemiolias every 1-2 turns. Thagaste was producing all those Axemen and most Catapults.

Against all this production stand minimal losses of units across the whole game:

  • Trihemiolia:
    • 2 lost while razing Rusadir
    • the next one only turn 47
    • another 4 until the end of the game
  • Triremes (never built, only captured):
    • 31 lost over the course of the game

Final 3 turns: 5.000 Victory Points

Winning Fall of Rome: Vandals


My goodness. What a rush. The Vandals are a great civilization to play. Their dominance of the seas is great fun and going against opponents superior in numbers (and winning) is just exhilarating. Over all this was another 5h 31min great Civilization 5 fun.

PS: Of course there is a Steam Achievement tied to playing the Vandals. I had achieved that in 2014 already, but never on Deity difficulty. For completeness it should be mentioned here:

I Sunk Your Imperial Capital!

Capture Rome as the Vandals using a boat in the Fall of Rome scenario.

Unlocked 25 Feb, 2014 @ 9:10am

As you can see in the guide, Rome was captured with a boat, but the achievement was already unlocked since it (fortunately) isn’t tied to the level of difficulty.

4 thoughts on “Fall of Rome Vandals Strategy (Deity)”

  1. Thanks! Your blog is still being read in 2020, love the CivV-scenario’s and your scenario guides, keep em coming! 😉

    1. Haha, thanks for the compliments!
      Stats are down from 15k page-views per month to around 10k per month now, but I’m still happy the guides are helpful.
      Obviously Civ-fanatics are just as loyal to me as they are to playing Civ5 😀

  2. Fall of Rome!
    Will you focus on this scenario for now or just passing by?

    1. Yes, there’s more Fall of Rome fun coming.
      I’ve beaten it just a month ago on Deity with the Franks and the Goths.
      Huns, Sassanids and Eastern Rome were done on Deity already in 2013 (but without blog posts).
      Open are only: Celts and Western Rome.

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