Annals of Rome

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Annals of Rome
Annals of Rome cover.jpg
Amiga Cover art
Publisher(s) PSS
Platform(s) ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, Atari ST, Amiga, MS-DOS
Release date(s) 1986
Genre(s) Strategy
Mode(s) Single-player
Distribution Cassette, floppy drives
For the book, see Annals (Tacitus)

Annals of Rome is a turn-based strategy game from now-defunct Personal Software Services. It was first released in 1986.

Game[edit]

Annals of Rome begins in 273 BC with the player in control of the Roman state. Unlike other war-strategy games, the aim is not military victory but survival for the longest time possible. In the initial few hundred years, the player will be at war with Carthage, Greece, Gaul.... If any of these ancient powers are conquered and annexed, they will continue to rebel until the time of historical death for that state (for Macedonia this is 146 BC). They will then be succeeded by a new power which will also try to destroy the Roman state. In this way Carthage will be followed by the Numidians, and the Parthians with Persians ... The player will always face 13 active states/nations under computer control.

Gameplay[edit]

The game is played in two windows. The first is the troops movement window which is for controlling the placement of troops in the Roman state or for attacking computer players. This window shows the number of forces for all players, inflation, popularity and national score of the Roman state, and human player score. The last step for the player in this window is to set the tax rate, between 1.0-2.0% (higher taxes cause higher inflation). In the next window, the player decides which of the 21 Senate members will receive command of the various Roman armies. To help him in his decision-making, all Senate members are listed with numbers, the first two which indicate their military ability and loyalty, respectively. The last number indicates their age. If the government's popularity falls below 2 (popularity is measured by a range between -5 and +5), armies with disloyal commanders can revolt and try to take Rome. If this happens before 50 BC, the successful rebel will be declared dictator, and if this happens after, he will become emperor, which will lead to a dynasty.

Popularity and conversions[edit]

This game, despite poor graphics and interface even for 1986, received an 85% rating from Crash magazine in 1987.[1] And on 27.11.1986, Popular Computing Weekly called the game a "perfect choice if you take your strategy games seriously". Because of such popularity, the game received conversion to all computer platforms in its day. Originally, Personal Software Services released the game for C-64, Spectrum, Amstrad CPC and Atari ST (platforms until September 1987[1]) followed by versions for PC and Amiga. Today, the game has become a forgotten classic[2]

Computer Gaming World gave the game a positive review, noting innovative mechanics such as the variable turn length. The review noted that the game felt unfinished and unpolished, citing the lack of victory conditions and poor save mechanism.[3] In 1990 the magazine gave the game three-plus out of five stars, stating that despite the poor graphics and seemingly incomplete, "it succeeds on many levels", especially the superior 16-bit versions.[4] In 1993 the magazine gave the game two-plus stars.[5] Orson Scott Card wrote in Compute! that Annals of Rome's programmers did an excellent job of recreating Roman history, but that sales would suffer because it "looks like it was programmed in the Bronze Age".[6]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b PSS catalogue
  2. ^ Mobby about Annals of Rome
  3. ^ Brooks, M. Evans (April 1989), "Annals of Rome", Computer Gaming World: 22–23 
  4. ^ Brooks, M. Evan (October 1990). "Computer Strategy and Wargames: Pre-20th Century". Computer Gaming World. p. 11. Retrieved 16 November 2013. 
  5. ^ Brooks, M. Evan (1993-06). "An Annotated Listing of Pre-20th Century Wargames". Computer Gaming World. p. 136. Retrieved 7 July 2014. 
  6. ^ Card, Orson Scott (April 1989). "Gameplay". Compute!. p. 11. Retrieved 10 November 2013. 

See also[edit]