How the mighty have fallen. For hundreds of years, the seemingly invulnerable Roman Empire conquered and expanded, eventually sprawling from the Scottish lowlands to Egypt and the Red Sea.
Reaping the rich spoils of slavery, pillage, trade and military conquest, Rome took what it wanted. Its borders expanded for centuries. But then it ground to a halt.
Rome's centre grew soft. Its leaders became decadent, its armies disillusioned and its outposts neglected.
In the forests of northern Europe and the steppes of Asia, enemies are massing, avarice leading them inexorably in search of Rome's unrivalled riches.
Europe's unconquered tribes, filled with hatred after so much Roman oppression and warmongering, finally see the opportunity to attack a weakened Rome.
To the north, the Saxons, Franks and Alemanni. To the east, the Goths, Sarmatians and Sassanids. But there are other foes who strike terror into the heart of every Roman: landless barbarians whose only wish is to strike at the heart of the Roman empire.
Enter the Vandals and the Huns who will cross thousands of miles in search of pillage, plunder and a new empire in warmer climes.
Barbarian Invasion opens at precisely this dramatic cross-roads in history. Creative Assembly's new strategy epic tells the tale of the clash between the waning Roman civilisation, and the waxing chaos of Barbarian tribal culture.
This expansion offers a totally new campaign and very different experience for cunning commanders who think they've mastered Rome's intricacies.
By 363AD, the Roman Empire has split in two: the Western Empire, including modern-day Britain, France, Spain, a chunk of North Africa and the Italian peninsula, and the Eastern Empire stretching from Greece to Libya.
The Senate is no longer a military force, and no other factions can lay claim to significant territories.
This is the game's fundamental pivot: can the crumbling Roman Empire withstand the relentless hordes? Will you accept the monumental challenge of defending Rome against enemies on both sides of your walls, or lead the assault of hairy axe-wielders upon civilisation?
Each of the 10 factions have very specific victory conditions designed to bring them into direct conflict with several others. The two Roman factions, for example, must defend and even expand their existing holdings, all the while being wary of rebellion from within.
The non-Roman peoples are tasked with taking Roman territories for their own. For the homeless Huns and Vandals roaming the steppes in what is now Russia, the task is more complex.