City Builders and you: Grand Ages Rome

What I really love about this game, is that your inhabitants mill around, toga-clad patricians head to the temples, children head to school, plebs work in their insulae and slaves are being lead to their bloody brutal deaths in the Arenas. It’s delightful to watch, absolutely nothing like zooming in on your grand forum, and seeing some citizen holding a speech.

Grand Ages Rome is a classical Roman city builder. You build a Roman city, you ensure people have their needs, that temples cover the cities houses, all the good old stuff, we all know and remember, from Impression Games’ Ceasar. You build mines, quarries, logging camps and farm, producing all that the three clases of Roman society need.

Resource management is classical, pun intended, buildings costs cash and some materials. And then has an upkeed in materials, forcing you to upgrade your resource infrastructure, in order to support growth.

The three classes of Roman society are, as any educated person will know, the plebs, the equite and the patricians, in that order.

The Plebs are your lower class, they work in the basic industries and are by far, the most common of people in your fair town. Make them happy, through ensuring they have enough different food, basic entertainment and religious access, and they’ll start producing goods, out of the workshops and small business on the lowest floor of the insulae, used by the upper classes and good for export to the rest of the empire.

Equite are your middle class, their area was the army, so when happy, the produce recruits for your Legions, they also man the more advanced industries, some of the temples and most of the military infrastructure. They also improve some the areas plebs also work in.

And finally, the top of the cities social stratum, the elite, the rich, the Patricians. These guys work in the really advanced public buildings, the senates, the bigger temples. When these upper class twits are happy, they produced Authority, used for an number of special abilities, like getting an emergency batch of slaves.

The military side is straightforward, if the barbarians have two squads, show up with two better squads or obliterate them with massive army of proud Roman legionaries, or let a few auxilia deal with their barbarian brethern. Surpress their barbarian villages to gain a steady stream of resources, or burn it, crush them, to gain a one-time bonus of slaves and money. So if you don’t need the bonus, burn their houses, kill their man and enslaves everything else, including the pigs.

Slaves are technically speaking a fourth class in the game’s Roman society, they just don’t have any houses. Instead of houses, you build slave camps, that provide slaves in an area, you can then use them as a sort of, I-don’t-feel-like-building-a-settlement-over-there, instrument. They can handle basic industries, like logging and quarries.

But, you can also use them in Arenas: “THOSE WHO ARE ABOUT TO DIE, SALUTE YOU!”, which they never actually said, still, a cooler use than anything else.

Now, the multiplayer is sadly utterly extinct, this isn’t a new game, so the multiplayer scene is pretty much gone. As far as I could tell, you build a city or more, and then just duke it out, sending your armies out to destroy your opponents armies, and besige them, I guess it could be really cool.

There’s a second mode, where you just have to reach some goal or milestone instead, like get a certain amount of income or something. The only activity I found was a few Italians using the lobby as a chatroom, wich just confuses the fuck outta me.

Alas, a good game, with good missions, good fun. Worth a look really.

You can get it from Steam. I give it a 88/100.

About Ragnarokz

I am the Managing Director of the Balfour Institute of Internet Culture, and one of the world’s foremost experts on the cultural phenomena of the Internet.

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