Total War

In between work I have been replaying Rome: Total War. I like the Barbarian Invasion expansion pack quite a bit. It allows you to attempt to prevent the collapse of the western half of the Roman Empire in the 4th century. The original game was set pre-Caesar Rome, around 90 BC, when the empire was in short pants.

When I first played the expansion, I tried the Western half and successfully held off the Huns and other assorted hordes, but it wasn’t until I tried playing the Eastern half of the empire in this last week that I realized I could destroy pagan temples in cities I owned. I’d played the entire (very long) Western campaign with a crazy mix of pagan and Christian cities that were always revolting, when I could have converted it all to Christianity by the sword. Stupid temples! I’m going to have to go back and see how much faster and easier I can salvage the West.

The game also allows you to command any of the barbarian factions, or the Franks, etc, but I find the concept of saving a collapsing, overextended empire more compelling. The first 5-10 turns involve some pretty ruthless cost-cutting and tense moments; do the wrong thing and half your territories will secede just as the Huns charge through the Alps to Rome, with the Goths and Vandals on their heels.

I haven’t played the Alexander expansion yet, but I’m not sure I’d enjoy it as much, as it apparently (and accurately) is more of a dash from Greece to Persia than a long, resource-management campaign.

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