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Imperium: Rise of Rome

June 14th, 2005 by Troy Goodfellow · No Comments · Uncategorized

In keeping with my obsession for ancient history (sorry, WW2 buffs – Panzers just don’t do a lot for me), I want to introduce my readers to a small European project that has me really excited.

Imperium: Rise of Rome is a tiny operation. And it has been in development for a couple of years now. But it could be everything that Pax Romana should have been but wasn’t. The lead designer, Michael Akinde, has a deep interest in ancient history and has made army sets for the Hoplites card game.

I was involved in testing an early version of the battle system, and it was pretty rudimentary. But it was user friendly and clearly on its way to something better.

Like Pax Romana, Imperium will have the Roman player deal with the vagaries of Republican government, but Akinde has wisely chosen not to make the player do this every year. This is ahistorical, for sure, but it is an intelligent concession to a player’s desire to deal with those sorts of things every few years instead of being a constant pressure on decision making.

Akinde is hoping to give the Romans a different feel from the merchant oligarchy of Carthage or the Successor Monarchies of the Hellenistic World. Game characters will have certain expectations and traits that will affect how well they respond to player orders or offers.

It remains to be seen how much of this ambitious design can actually be implemented. As progress has been made, the revealed design has become clearer and less pie-in-the-sky. I don’t often champion games that haven’t been finished yet, but, as a champion of independent strategy games, I couldn’t let this project remain undiscovered.


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