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Favonius Cornelius

The Problem with 'Roman' Games

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Have you ever needed your Roman game fix, and gone to the store in a vain attempt to find something fresh and exciting? After you get over RTW and its mods, you'll find that a great majority of 'Roman' themed games are nothing more than a sorry template of the Warcraft war game engine. I can't tell you how tired I am of seeing that garbage being sold to us on the sly, for the Roman theme and many more. Read the box and they will sell you all sorts of promises on the game play and show you graphics you'll never see, only to find that its just another cookie cutter version of Warcraft: collect resources, build buildings, build mindless units then send them en masse against your enemy.

 

The game developers do this because they are cowards! Too afraid to try something new and fresh, they do what's been done before. Hell I think you can even buy the rights to the template, and all you have to do is make the maps and unit graphics.

 

The best attempts at the Roman theme are RTW and Roma Victor (if you have the computational power and LOTS of patience). Oh I suppose there is the Caesar city building game, but how many times can one arrange one's temples around the forum? Everything else sadly sucks.

 

I

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I haven't had much luck with Roman computer games. Some of it is along the lines you describe - they just take a basic genre, slap a few togas on it, and call it a Roman game.

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What about Great Invasions? It has it's flaws, but it is original.

Edited by Maladict

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What about Great Invasions? It has is flaws, but it is original.

 

I'll have to check that one out Maladict. Actually reminds me of another unique battle game: The Great Battles series.

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I haven't had much luck with Roman computer games. Some of it is along the lines you describe - they just take a basic genre, slap a few togas on it, and call it a Roman game.

 

Quite so.

This is just about the only computer game I have ever really liked. (I'm from the pinball machine generation). I even was addicted to it for a while.

 

Put some tunics on those guys, replace those mines with traps with spikes and you're there : best Roman theme computer game ever.

 

Of course, marker flags are for pussies only. They're a waste of time.

 

' You've got eyes and a brain, don't you, soldier ? Then use them !'

 

Edited by Formosus Viriustus

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I agree, most Roman games are just uimaginative spin-offs from Caesar III or Age of Empires: the Rise of Rome.

 

Usually you have to look to mods of other games to have anything different. Has anyone here heard of the medieval combat game/RPG Mount & Blade? Essentially it's a third person exploration/combat game set in a mythical version of our Medieval period (without fantasy stuff like magic, dragons, orcs, wizards, elves etc).

 

Anyway the game is developed by an independent Turkish studio, and a fairly large mod community has grown around it. One of those Mods is a Roman themed version of the game called 'Hegemony 268 BC'. Hegemony has a number of Classical civilisations to play as including the Roman Republic, Carthage, Seleucid Empire, Egypt, Macedon, Gaul etc.

 

They also have some historically accurate units: Here's some Spartan Hoplites -

 

hegemony-268-bc-sparta-spartan-hoplitai-spartan-somatophylakai.jpg

 

and a here's a link to their site:

 

Hegemony Forum

 

I haven't played the mod yet. I don't think it's being finished, but it does look promising, and it'd be a nice change from all those city-building sim and RTS games.

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I agree. The only one I really enjoy is 'Great Battles of Rome' the battles in it are all accurate, but as you can only fight and not build the game gets boring fast. The others have only scetchy information in them and while they might be good games, they are not historically accurate.

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I just dont understand why they get some buildings so wrong. I mean, everyone knows what a Roman Fort looks like, for instance - would it be so hard to do a computer model of one with the standard building plan? Some of the elaborate and unauthentic examples probably take more disk space than an authentic one would! Same goes for peristyle houses, baths, etc etc etc...

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Hang on, hang on, everyones getting heated about commercial computer games not representing Rome as we'd like it to be seen. What do you expect? Computer games aren't exactly easy to program, and if you don't believe me, try it yourself. In any case, a game is nothing more than an organised challenge and the milieu of its setting really isn't intended to be a history lesson is it?

 

If you want accurate depictions of Roman period armies, architecture, strategies, etc etc, why are you looking at a game?

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Hang on, hang on, everyones getting heated about commercial computer games not representing Rome as we'd like it to be seen. What do you expect? Computer games aren't exactly easy to program, and if you don't believe me, try it yourself. In any case, a game is nothing more than an organised challenge and the milieu of its setting really isn't intended to be a history lesson is it?

 

If you want accurate depictions of Roman period armies, architecture, strategies, etc etc, why are you looking at a game?

Because games and history are both hobbies of mine, so combined they would be greater. And why shouldn't it be a history lesson? it woulsd be fun, while at the same time educational, and they can not do that with the games around now.

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I think the appeal of 'Roman' games is recreating your favorite battles and historical events, not so much the educational value of these games.

 

An old game but a fine one is Annals of Rome. I highly recommend it to fans of the Roman era. In it you play against up to 13 independent hostile nations every game turn. You cannot form alliances to help ease the burden of defending the empire. In Annals of Rome you must plan ahead of time and try to anticipate enemy actions as well as historical events. The big overidding question in the game according to the game manual is "WAS THE FALL OF ROME INEVITABLE GIVEN THE CIRCUMSTANCES AT THE TIME?"

 

Feel free to give this old game a try.

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I think the appeal of 'Roman' games is recreating your favorite battles and historical events, not so much the educational value of these games.

 

I think there's a lot of truth in that. I really enjoyed re-creating the wars between the Hellenistic World and rome in Rome: Total War. I usually enjoy playing the historical battles scenarios in other ancient and Roman period video games.

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I'd really like a game similar to Morrowind and Oblivion, set in the Roman Republic/Empire.

 

(Without wizarda, monsters, etc... of course).

Edited by Late Emperor

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