Annals of Rome begins in 273BC and sets you as a Roman senator, with the ultimate aim of colonizing as much of the known world as possible, and retaining that power against Carthaginians, Vandals, Parthians, Persians and all the other world forces. You have a strong army at your disposal, and can direct your generals as to which countries they attempt to invade.
The game is turn-based, and these turns operate in phases, beginning with the economic circumstances of population and tax income being decided - it's recommended to keep taxation taxing low unless things become desperate. The game then updates you on the statuses of your generals, and give you the chance to redistribute them to other parts of your kingdom.
Officers may rebel and cause a civil war - fortunately this can usually be pre-empted. More serious are attempts to take land from other civilizations, which take place in order and include conflicts between other groups. These, like every element of the game, are accurately historically modeled and variable in time-span as a result.
This early precursor to Impression's superb Caesar series is a complex strategy/war game that, unlike its contemporaries, emphasizes economic and personnel aspects as much as military ones. Contend with internal affairs, including loyalty of legions, while you wage wars with neighboring empires. Scripted events based on real historical trends also add to the fun. Definitely a forgotten classic that was well ahead of its time. Highly recommended!
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