Thursday, August 30, 2018

Aggressors: Ancient Rome Gameplay Review

I'm playing Aggressors: Ancient Rome, a turn-based 4X strategy game by Kubat Software and Slitherine.

The single player game features historical play around the Mediterranean or randomly generated maps with good customization options but potentially unbalanced starting positions. A scenario editor and mod support are also available. The interface could be improved; specifically, the strategic overview that lists on-map objects and the political maps desperately need the ability to zoom in. Resources are collected from the map: mines, wood, and farms near cities automatically add their bounty nationwide. Cities can only produce specific units, and adding a new unit to a city’s production roster requires an investment of resources (on top of the cost of actually making the unit), leading to interesting strategic decisions and less unit spam. Buildings outside of cities (such as the blacksmith, temple, and stable) can buff resource production or allow for the recruitment of advanced units. Cities, buildings, and units can also be improved to increase stats. Units fall under the typical categories of settler, infantry, cavalry, and naval forces, but more sophisticated versions can be researched. Government type and state decisions can alter your approach. Diplomacy comes with a good number of options, but there is no feedback whether some options will be accepted (and why they were not). Luckily, trade deals can be open-ended: you can request a specific resource and the partner will come back with an appropriate counter offer. Due to the time period, combat is relatively common, and the AI does a good job producing troops, attacking vulnerable units, and working well as a trade partner and ally. While Aggressors: Ancient Rome is more simplified than some other 4X games, it does not lack significant strategic decisions and its faster, combat-oriented pace is appealing.