The Romans

The mystique of ancient Rome has a unique attraction to a great many CIVers. The fame of this CIV has undoubtedly made it among the most common of, “the first CIV I ever played was.” stories. Among CIVs, the Romans have a small but highly loyal following of players. What follows is my take on the Romans, and a few tips for all you would be ‘Caesars’. Veni – Vidi – Vici !
Militaristic and Commercial, the Roman traits are not among the most dynamic as a combination. The greatest asset of the Militaristic trait is the ability to generate great leaders and the faster promotion rate of its units. Unlike many traits, the power of militaristic is felt throughout the entire game. However its greatest impact is in the early game. Generate 2 or 3 Ancient Age armies and the game may be over in a flash. The commercial trait is also like the militaristic in that it too is felt throughout the entire game. However, its impact is the exact inverse of militaristic. Commercial starts off slowly, and begins to snowball in its effect. Its greatest impact is felt in the early Industrial Age. Lastly, a warmongering Roman will find that neither of his starting techs give him a head start are in a tech branch that works towards the strengths of his UU (Iron Working) or towards a warmongers Government (Monarchy).

The peaceful Roman will find that his traits can be used effectively culturally and scientifically, if he is both patient and plans ahead in detail. This player is better served with a Republic beeline – shoot for Philosophy first (grab CoL with free tech) and then research Republic slowly. His research time towards Republic will allow him to build up a decent amount of commerce and allow his cities to grow to enough population as to make Republic useful. The Republic beeline usually allows for him being able to trade for Iron Working and his access to Legionary UUs. The Legionary acts as a superb defender/attacker combo making other CIVs think twice about attacking a peaceful Rome. Unfortunately the starting Roman traits tend to keep Rome from being able to expand as fast or hard as other CIVs. A peaceful-builder Roman may find that early wars are almost necessities if he is to have enough cities to take advantage of the Commercial trait in the 3rd and 4th ages. The Roman player will find that he must pay full price for his cultural buildings. The money for this will roll in – but be patient. The early game for the peaceful Roman is far better served with Marketplaces and Harbors, than Temples or Libraries. Cultural buildings will come later and in mass – but first priority is the bank account. Scientifically Rome usually lags, or is at best on par with the other CIVs, until the early Industrial Ages when the Libraries and Universities make their impact. Until then make the best of having the advantage of starting with Alphabet and the jump-start to Philosophy. Astute trades can keep you at tech parity for some time.

Warmongering with Rome is usually far more rewarding than peaceful building. Roman advantages include, cheap barracks and a UU that is truly an awesome weapon. The Legionary is a 3-3-1 foot unit that requires iron. Amass a goodly number of these beast and most CIVs will be hard pressed to survive a determined Roman attack. The Legionary is also one of those UUs whose value is not eclipsed until the advent of Cavalry, and therefore is potent throughout most of the Middle Ages. The 3-3-1 stats of the Legionary allows for it to act as both Hoplite and Swordsman at the same time! The Roman can literally build nearly no other type of unit for quite some time. Also, keep in mind that the Legionary benefits immensely working in combination with a small group of catapults. Generate 3 armies (filled with Legions) with great leaders, and you will find that there is virtually no city in ancient or middle ages that can withstand the assault. . Unfortunately, the higher cost of upgrades in C3C has hit Rome hard. The traditional tactic of a mass warrior upgrade to Legionary is no longer viable except in a limited sense. You will find that your upgrading will be done in portions. In effect your warmongering will also be more in the ‘one bit at a time’ style, than the complete overruns that were common in PTW. In a poor start situation you may even be better served foregoing a Legionary strat for an archer strat. The beeline to Philosophy (grab Polytheism as free tech), and then slowly research Monarchy – usually better serves the warmongering Roman (this assumes you were able to trade for Mysticism). As a warmonger CIV Rome is a solid choice, but far from a top choice.

Summary:

A fantastic UU cannot make up for a litany of Civ deficiencies that include: an awkward trait combo, slow early expansion, typically an early UU generated Golden Age, early tech parity problems, and the loss of Rome’s greatest strat – the mass upgrade to Legionary. At the higher levels even the Alphabet to Philosophy (*free tech) beeline strat is usually lost. A slow, ponderous, overly methodical, and uncomfortable CIV to play – 3rd tier overall (2nd tier for warmongers).

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