Total War campaigns tend to come in two flavors. There is the standard “rise to power” campaign where you take part in an expansionist drag race to become the unchallenged hegemon of the setting, which has been the basis of most Total War games since the original Shogun in 2000. Then there is the “edge of the abyss” Total War game, like 2015’s Attila, where a decrepit but salvageable balance of power is poised to unravel in a series of compounding catastrophes. Total War: Three Kingdoms was the first kind of game. Its first major expansion, Mandate of Heaven, turns it into the second.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/dygd7y/total-war-three-kingdoms-expansion-mandate-heaven-review