Tuesday 8 April 2014

Empire Total War (game flags)

Everyone enjoys a game and I am no exception. The game I like to play is Empire Total War. A strategy game set in the 18th Century, where the player plays as a nation state with the aim of establishing an empire, so naturally flags play an important part:

 In the game each faction has a flag which is used as screen markers to identify them as well as being carried by some army units ( notably Pike Infantry, Militia, Line Infantry, Superior Line Infantry, GrenadiersGuards and equivalent units)  and flown from ships, not to mention adding to a dramatic scene like the above pic. In the game it is possible for some factions to have rebellions and revolutions. This means that government types can change (their are three types of government in the game Absolute Monarchy, Constitutional Monarchy and Republic) which often means the flag will change to reflect this too. They playable factions and their flags are:
I have categorised flags in the game into four different types; State Flag, War Flag, Ensign and Pennant.
State flag is the main flag used to identify factions on the campaign map it is also used as screen markers in both land and sea battles:
 The War Flag is carried by most infantry units into battle. It will however disappear if the bearer is killed, it will however find a new bearer in the next battle. All units will have a state flag marker on the screen regardless, so they can be identified.
The ensign is flown at the stern of all vessels like army units there will also be a state flag screen marker above the ship. Some ships also fly mast head pennants and bigger ships will have an ensign at the stern and one on top of the main mast and mast head pennants!

You may notice that in the game all the different types of flags are the same (with the exception of the British ensign). This is relatively inaccurate from a historic point of view. There have been some mods that have changed the war flags. So I have designs for all the different types of flags for ALL of the factions in Empire Total War, and even some of the factions that didn't make it into the game. So here they are I will start with the Playable factions:

Playable Factions 


The state flags have remained unchanged but the war flags and ensigns are more in the style of the time.

The monarchy state flag is simplified but the ensigns are unchanged the war flags are based on French regimental colours of the period of the French-Indian war and French revolution.

Great Britain
 The state flag is still the Union Flag, however the war flag is based on the most common design for regimental colours in the British Army in this period. The white ensign has become the naval ensign with the appropriate pennant. If Great Britain becomes a republic I have based the state flag on the standard of Oliver Cromwell who ruled the British Isles as a republic between 1645 - 1660. The war flag and ensign fallow this design the colours on the pennant come from a slightly more modern flag used by British republicans.

Maratha Confederacy
Very little change to any of the Maratha flags, the main difference is the war flag fallows the pattern of Indian flags at the time.

Ottoman Empire
The monarchist flags were all used in these capacities between the 16th and 18th centuries the republic flags are all based on the modern flag of Turkey.

 Poland and Lithuania
The state and war flags and naval ensign are all based on flags of the period. The republic flags are based on the modern Polish flags, except the war flag which is actually based on the modern Polish naval jack.


The flag of Prussia at this time actually seems to be white with a black eagle. In the game the flag has two black stripes, which I kept as it really makes the flag. The naval ensign is based on that of the period as is the war flag. I wasn't too sure about the colours on the republic flag, as the flag of the German Empire and Weimar Republic were black, white and red. However after a little research I found out that black, yellow and red flags were used by German revolutionaries in the 19th Century so I kept the colours.


I couldn't find any reference to the flag used in the game it appears to be the royal standard with the national flag that wasn't introduced at this point, in fact the Russian Empire had no national flag at this period! So I used the current flag defaced with the Royal coat of arms. The war flag and ensign are all from the period. The pennant however is original. The revolutionary flag and pennant are the current flags of the Russian Federation. The war flag is based on the current Russian Armed forces flag. The ensign is based on the monarchist ensign but in the national colours.

Spain has the same problem as Russia as it had no national flag during this period. So I used the Naval Ensign as the state flag, which I think is fair as that is how the modern Spanish flag came about. The war flag of the Kingdom of Spain was the cross of Burgundy symbol of the ruling dynasty at that time, and was the basis of many regimental flags in the Spanish Army like this one. The republic flags mirror the monarchy ones except without royal symbols (like crowns). The cross of Burgundy isn't used as it was/is a royal symbol.


The flag of Sweden remains practically unchanged to this day. The war flag is based on Scandinavian military colours of the period, as is the ensign with royal arms in the canton. Like Spain the Republic flags have just had monarchist symbolism removed.

United Provinces

AKA the Netherlands, the United Provinces is only one of two factions that start off as a republic in 1700. (the other being Venice).  Again the state flag copies the national ensign. The war flag is based on regimental colours of the Batavian Republic which is the earliest I could go back for war flags. It is possible in the game for the republic to be overthrew and monarchy restored.  The flag used in this case is the flag used in the game, although according to this painting of Dutch ships engaged with the Royal Navy in the Anglo-Dutch wars it appears both flags were used at the same time.
The monarchy war flag has the royal coat of arms on it, the colour orange reflects the ruling house that ruled(and still does) the Netherlands at the time. The orange in the pennant also reflects this.

United States
The USA is only available as a playable quest after you complete the 'road to independence' campaign. Before that it is an unplayable emergent faction from the Thirteen Colonies which I will get to later. Like the game I used the Betsy Ross flag as the state flag. The war flag is based on US regimental flags in the late 18th/early 19th century. The ensign is the Serapis flag which was an early US Navy ensign of Cpt John Paul Johns, and arguably one of the first internationally recognised US flags (although ironically enough not by congress!) I used this rather than the continental colours as the thirteen colonies flag is based on that. The pennant features a snake and the text "Don't Tread on Me" based on the first US navy jack, but also a little tradition I made up and fallowing on from the Thirteen Colonies pennant.
If the upper classes become too unhappy in the game they will rebel, if successful they will turn the United States into a monarchy. The state flag features the other early US flag by Francis Hopkins. The war flag is similar to a republic flag but red (I think its a more monarchist colour) and has a crown. The ensign is based on the US Coast Guard ensign.

Starting Protectorates

At the start of the game some of the major factions have protectorates. Protectorates don't have full sovereignty and give half of their national income at the end of each turn to their parent faction. Protectorates often go to war when their parent faction does. It is also possible for the parent faction to go to war with its protectorate. Most of the starting protectorates end up being peacefully annexed by their parent faction on completion of a goal in the game.
Barbary States
A protectorate of the Ottomans they act like the European version of the Pirate faction, and are at war with everyone (except the Ottoman Empire) at the start of the game. The flags of the monarchy are based on historic Algerian flags of the period, Barbary is one of the few minor factions that can have a revolution, the republic flags are similar but with minor distinctive differences.
A Polish protectorate, the flag in the game according to Wikipedia seems to be a banner of the coat of arms rather than the actual flag used. The ensign looks like the flag of a Bond Villain, but is the flag of the period.

Crimean Khanate
 Crimea also an Ottoman protectorate, the state flag and ensign are similar but historically it appears there were these minor but substantial differences. The war flag is based war flag of the Crimean Tatars.

Louisiana is a French Protectorate, like many of the American colonies it has no historical flag under colonial rule. The design are based on the white cross which often appears in the heraldry and Vexillology of the Kingdom of France. The state flag is really a copy of the ensign. The war flag is also a copy of the ensign but fashioned more like the French military colour of the period.

New Spain
New Spain (as the name suggests) is the Spanish administration in America, and therefore a protectorate of Spain. The flag used for New Spain in the game is the Cross of Burgundy, but like the other colonial states of the period had no unique flag of its own, presenting a challenge to design one. I kept the cross of Burgundy due to its historic use in Spanish America, although I changed the white field to yellow/gold to reflect the national colours of Spain (and avoid confusion with the flag that was historically used on land in Spain itself).  The war flag is almost based on the Spanish war flag except on a yellow field and with a different coat of arms in the centre. New Spain did not have its own unique coat of arms but for the purposes of the game, I designed one based on the Mexico arms. The ensign is based on the Spanish civil ensign of the period but with the New Spain coat of arms. The pennant mirrors the Spanish pennant but with the cross of Burgundy in the hoist.

Saxony is a protectorate of Poland-Lithuania, the flag of Saxony was historically that of Poland-Lithuania. However for the game the historic green and white flag is used, I changed this by adding the coat of arms used in Saxony at the time, The Polish coat of arms which also includes the arms of Saxony. The war flag fallows the style used by other European armies and is based on flags carried by Saxon regiments towards the end on the 18th century.

Thirteen Colonies

The British colonies in America which historically gave birth the USA is of course a protectorate of Great Britain. Although 13 separate colonies in the game they are one faction. The actual flag used in the game is the British red ensign, which in the game is also the ensign used by Great Britain at sea meaning the 13 colonies are in a strange predicament where the have no flag at sea! The state flag is very much the ensign used in that role, and is based on the continental colours (but with red, white and blue stripes). The war flag is based on the type of flags carried by colonial militias on America, and the most well known of which is the Gadsden flag, although historically a revolutionary flag I used it here as the colonial war flag. The pennant has the 'Don't Tread on me' snake the same as the US pendants (and thus starting the tradition) but with a different colour scheme and the Union Flag is naturally in the hoist.

Non-playable factions

Non-Playable factions are the fully independent factions at the start of the game which cannot be played as. Most are with some exceptions the minor factions at the start of the game sited mostly in Europe, that the player can war with, build relationships and alliances with and even persuade to become protectorates. Note that this section includes Native American factions as they are not playable in the main campaign although they are playable in the War-Path campaign in the game. Also there is no ensign or pennant for Native American factions as unfortunately they can't build navies.

The state flag is a banner of the state coat of arms of the period. The war flag is based on Bavarian colours in the Napoleonic period. the Ensign I think  is also from that period.

Cherokee Nations
Based on the actual flag of the Cherokee tribe said to have been carried along the "long road." Like most Native American factions the state flag and war flag are identical.

The state flag is the same as that used in the game, the war ensign and naval pennant are both derived from the state flag. The war flag however is based on the flag of the Avar People who inhabit that region.

 Denmark is an easy faction to make flags for as the flags of the Kingdom of Denmark is relatively well documented. The flag of Demark has remained relatively unchanged for centuries. The war flag is based on regimental colours at the end of the 18th Century. The ensign is the same as the state flag but with the Scandinavian swallow tail design.

One of the larger factions of the Italian city states, the patron saint of Genoa is St George. The flag and arms of Genoa is therefore St Georges cross, although in the game (and in my design) the cross is off centre to avoid confusion with the England flag (which is used by the Virginia Colonists). The war flag features St George's Cross defaced with the coat of arms and a decorative Italian style boarder. The war ensign is based on the flag of Genoa as depicted in the 'Book of all kingdoms.'

 The state flag and ensign are both Georgia flags, where the war flag of Georgia has the colours reversed and is defaced with a coat of arms.

 Like Rohan from Lord of the Rings (that sounds like a good idea for another post)  the historic flag of Hannover is a white horse. The state flag is the historic flag of Hannover while the war flag is based on that of Hannover with the horse on hind legs ready to fight.

Huron Confederacy
Based on the actual flag of the Huron Nation, the war flag fallows a pendant type pattern that most of the native American factions use in my proposals.

Inuit Nations
Also based on the tribe flag although with a different colour scheme and some of the components in different places.

Iroquois Confederacy
 Unchanged from flag used in game which I think is based on the traditional belts that were often worn and exchanged by tribes in that region.

Italian States
  Despite the name these are the church states in Northern Italy under direct rule from the King of Vatican (aka the Pope). As such the historical flag of the Holy See is used, which is gold and red (traditional colours of the Roman Senate) rather than the modern gold and white. Both the war flag and ensign being derived from it. The pennant only uses the key emblems of the papacy.

Knights of St John

The ruling faction of Malta, their flag is the cross of St John which was historically used by the Order of St John. The war flag features a Maltese cross. The war ensign is a St John Cross with a Maltese cross in the canton.

All accounts seem to show the flag of Morocco in this period as a simple plain red flag. The war flag features an  Islamic Shahada, with some decoration. Where the ensign is that used in the game which is the earlier flag used from 1258 -1420, while not historically accurate, I feel that a plain flag doesn't work as an ensign.

Mughal Empire

The only major faction in the game that is not playable, all the Mughal flag is based on the royal flag of the Mughals with a lion and sun. 

Flag is the flag of the historic Sultanate of Mysore. The war flag is based on the Maharaja's flag that flew over Fort Bangalore. The Naval ensign is that which was historically used.

Plains Notations
  Same as that in game.

The state flag is the flag used by Portugal during this period. The war flag is based on regimental flags used in the Napoleonic period.  The ensign is not historically accurate but for the same I reason I changed Morocco's ensign I changed Portugal's to the cross of the Military Order of Christ defaced with the royal arms.  The naval pennant is white with the arms in the hoist.

Pueblo Nations
Unchanged from that used in game.

Pirate Faction Pirates operating from one of the islands in the Caribbean often attack trading fleets as well as raid ports and trade routes, simulating that this was the golden age of piracy. For the game to accommodate this the pirates have their own faction.  The state flag and ensign of this faction is the Jolly Roger, of Calico Jack. The Pirates have a small and poorly equipped army and so providing you are able to get past their large navy it is relatively easy to conquer this faction early on in the game. The Pirate army units don't appear to carry war flags which I think is silly, if native Americans can then the Pirates should also. My war flag design is the Jolly Roger of Christopher Moody.

 I couldn't find any reference to the flag of the Persian Empire used in the game, but what I did find was an Imperial standard and naval flag of the period which has formed the biases of my war flag and ensign. The state flag and naval pennant is also based on the imperial standard. it is interesting to note that the Persians seem to use a similar lion and sun symbol like the Mughals.

 The flag of Venice hasn't changed that much through the centauries, however you will notice a number of differences in the above flags. First the state flag does not have the traditional six tails. This is foe practical reasons in regard to screen markers in battles particularly sea battles. Second and foremost the war flag is a completely different design to the state flag and ensign. I came across this flag on the internet and since the winged lion is holding a sword rather than the open book though it would make a great war flag, the same lion also appears on the naval pennant.


The flag used in the game is the flag of the Kingdom of Wurttemberg but in the period the game is set Wurttemberg was a Duchy rather than a Kingdom. The state flag and war ensign is the banner that was used during this period. The war flag features the coat of arms of the period (interestingly it appears the banner of arms only ever depicted the central arms).

Emergent Factions 

Emergent factions are factions that don't exist at the start of the game but may emerge as the result of a rebellion or the collapse of one of the main factions or larger factions. If the player is not playing as the United States from 1700 then the US is an emergent faction that emerges as the result of a successful rebellion in the Thirteen Colonies, (or the territories held by the colonies at the start of the game if the 13 colonies have been absorbed into another faction normally the British).

 Similar to the flag used in the game the only difference being I reserved the crescent for the war flag

Gran Colombia
 The state flag is unchanged from the game however the war flag and ensign are based on historic and current Columbian military flags.

The historic flag of Greece which still appears in the country's national flag. The war flag is the actual war flag of Greece, and the ensign has the royal arms on it too.

State flag and ensign are practically the same but with a better crown. The war flag is based on Napoleonic regimental colours. The Naval Pennant is a banner of the arms.

 The state flag is the same as the current Hungarian flag. The war flag bears the royal coat of arms with an Austrian style pattern around the edge, as does the ensign. The pennant hears the arms at the hoist and national colours running to the tail.


The state flag is the historic green harp flag, that probably would have been the national flag had any of the rebellions in Ireland been successful, and was used as a de-facto national flag throughout the 19th century.  The war flag features what is in my opinion the better version of the Irish harp, flanked by shamrocks and complete with the war cry "Erin Go Bragh" (Ireland Forever). The naval ensign is the blue flag with gold harp, similar to the banner of state coat of arms currently used by the Irish president. The pendant features the arms of the island's four provinces in the hoist with the green flag towards the tail.


The state flag and ensign is similar to that in the game, but with a backwards crescent which is taken from a historic Egyptian flag, which is used as a war flag.

State flag is the first national flag of Mexico. The war flag is Flag of the Three Guarantees Designed by José Magdaleno Ocampo and used during the war of Independence, this is also the design of the Naval Pennant. The war ensign features four eagles one in each corner.

Naples & Sicily

Historically I could have used better flags for Naples and Sicily individually, but as the two provinces are in union the only appropriate flags are the rather ugly ones above.


The state flag of Norway is another old flag, that has been used for centuries. The war flag and ensign fallow the Scandinavian design with the royal arms in the canton.

The state flag and ensign are unchanged from that used in the game, however the war flag is a traditional Sikh design.

 Like the modern flag of the province my design is based on the Drapeau Carillon Sacre flag that was used by Catholic Franco-Canadians until the 1950s, and fallows the original 1902 proposal. The war flag is based on the state flag and the common design of French regimental flags in the period, and bears the Quebec coat of arms. I kept the crown on the coat of arms because in the game if Quebec becomes independent it becomes an absolute monarchy.

The state flag is of course the Cross of St Andrew. The war flag is a saltire based on the flag design of the Scottish Covenanters in the 17th Century. The war ensign is the Scots Red ensign used by Scottish war ships before the 1707 act of union (although for practicality in the game Great Britain exists from 1700).

Not every potential rebel is an emergent faction, some are simply called "rebels." Meaning unlike the other emergent factions diplomatic relations cannot be established so they are always seen as hostile. Normally black flags with a sword or crossed cannons. I designed four rebel flags (both as equivalent to state flag and war flags), one for rebels in regions that have a middle eastern culture and two for regions that have European culture (I haven't come across Indian or native American rebels that don't affiliate themselves to any faction emergent or otherwise), and one other that could be randomly used. The middle eastern flag has two crossed Islamic swords and a crescent. The first European flag is red a reflection on the "clamour for reform" flag emblem on the regional control panel. It has the personification of liberty holding a sword with the slogan "liberty or death." The second European flag is based on the historic Texan "Come and Take it" flag but with the slogan "Awake! Arise or be forever fall'n" a quote from Paradise Lost by John Milton.  The other flag is black with a gold star and crossed muskets.

Tutorial Factions

These are factions that are only available in certain campaigns notably the "road to independence"  campaign

Virginia Colonists
When playing as the Virginian Colonists it is set before the act of union between England and Scotland. The game recognising this uses the England flag. I kept this as the state flag as I couldn't find any reference to a flag for the Colony of Virginia. I did however find a coat of arms, that I replicated on the war flag and ensign.  

Powahatan Confederacy
 Fallowing the Native American style, it features an eagle and dream catcher attempting to capture Native American culture and symbolism.

Cancelled Factions

 These are factions that were proposed or considered for the game but did not make it into the final product. These are included because some computer whizzes mod the game to include them.

Ireland (as a British protectorate)

 Not one of the official ones but an idea of mine. At the start of the game Ireland is part of Great Britain. This isn't historically accurate as the Kingdom of Ireland didn't unite with Great Britain to form the United Kingdom until 1800. 100 years after the start of the game! Although Ireland was a client state of Great Britain at this time. Therefore like the Thirteen Colonies I think Ireland should be a British Protectorate that would join Great Britain after completing a mission of some sort. The flag is St Patrick's Saltire, the ensign is the green ensign both used around the period (although a merchant ensign, in the game it is the state ensign.) There wasn't really an Irish army after the Union of England and Scotland, however for the purposes of the game it needs an army, so the war flag is a St Patrick Saltire defaced with a crowned harp, the arms of Ireland's provinces and the motto of the Illustrious order of St Patrick which was/is also used by various Irish regiments.

Khanate of Khiva
The flag proposed by the game designers was not used until 1917! The earliest flag I could find was according to the world statesman, white with a blue crescent in the canton. The war flag is actually based on a historic flag of Burka but adapted for Khiva. I think I should apologise as I think the Arabic text on the naval pennant (which is the same as the war flag) is the wrong war round.

 The state flag is the same as the naval ensign which was used in that role between 1737 - 1749. The war flag is red and bears the coat of arms.

I kept the state flag the same as proposed for the game because as far as I can tell that's reasonably accurate. The war flag is blue with the coat of arms with some light decoration around the edges.

Swiss Confederation
The state flag and ensign are the same as the modern flag of Switzerland and the war flag is based on an 1815 design.

I hope you enjoyed this post and/or the game as much as I do. Comments and queries are welcome.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. I will have a look at it. Although I don't claim that my flags are accurate, (although I have tried to do that as far as possible for the game). For example the British republican flags and some others are based on 17th century flags others are based on 19th century, as these were the periods the flags were actually used. Others like Saxony are just made up. I haven't seen the Colonialism 1600AD mod so I can't judge it but I will say that the 17th century was a very complex period and the flags used at the start were often different from those used at the end (at least in the British isles). But I will have a go at it and no doubt will be fun.

  2. where do you download the flags? it is nice to see the flags but don't see a link. If I missed it I do apologise


    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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